Southern Yorkshire Dales, 28 - 30 May 2016

A bank holiday weekend hiking up in the southern part of the Yorkshire Dales. Our walking took us through Wharfedale from Bolton Abbey, up the Valley of Desolation to Simon's Seat and back via the river. Then we did a blast up Pen-y-ghent and an amble around Malham Tarn. The last day saw us back in Wharfedale, walking from Conistone over the tops to Grassington and back via the river/valley.

The best way to summarise the birds is a list:

Goosander - 5+ River Wharfe
Red Grouse - c12, Simon's Seat and Pen-y-ghent including 2 pairs with recently fledged young
Red Kite - 1 Lower Wharfedale plus 3 near Peterborough from the A1
Common Buzzard - c10 widely scattered
Curlew - ubiquitous
Lapwing - several territorial pairs, widely scattered
Cuckoo - 1 Valley of Desolation
Kingfisher - 1 River Wharfe
Sand Martin - 3 colonies along the River Wharfe
Tree Pipit - c5 Malham Tarn
Yellow Wagtail - 1 singing on roadside post near Malham
Grey Wagtail - numerous along River Wharfe and in Skipton town
Dipper - 2 River Wharfe
Common Redstart - 1 female Malham Tarn
Northern Wheatear - just 1 Pen-y-ghent
Spotted Flycatcher - 1 near Bolton Abbey
Ring Ouzel - 2 in different spots near Pen-y-ghent
Mistle Thrush - several, widely scattered
Wood Warbler - 4 singers along River Wharfe between The Strid and Bolton Abbey
Willow Warbler - huge numbers, widely scattered
Nuthatch - c8 Lower Wharfedale and Malham Tarn
Raven - 1 Pen-y-ghent, 1 Malham Tarn
Siskin - 1 near Bolton Abbey
Lesser Redpoll - c6 Malham Tarn, displaying

Apart from that there were a few Early Purple Orchids at Malham Tarn and along the Dales Way north of Grassington plus a curious locked cage at the Malham Tarn Field Centre containing Ladies Slipper Orchids. Sadly I couldn't find any 'released' ones in Grass Wood but we did id Water Avens, Bog Bean and Marsh Marigolds at Malham and the whole Wharfedale area was carpeted in Wild Garlic giving off quite an aroma!. Butterflies were few and far between but we recorded Green-veined White, Small White, Orange Tip and Small Tortoiseshell plus big numbers of Lattice Heath moths on the moors.

Green-veined White
Bog Bean

Early Purple Orchid

'Captive' Ladies Slipper

Marsh Marigold and Malham Tarn

Water Avens

Wild Garlic

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