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This was an evening trip, a gentle stroll down the Costa Beck from its source at Keldhead near Pickering. 14 members turned up at 7:30, on a lovely sunny summers evening. Tom Denney was unable to lead the trip as planned (due to a family wedding) so Jim Pewtress, Nan Sykes and Gill Smith stepped into the breach, Jim for the birds and Gill and Nan for the plants. Stupidly I forgot to take a camera! Tom came to my rescue with some photos taken a few days later....
Keld Head Pond, with overhanging willow trees, Himalayan balsam in the foreground, and water speedwell growing in the water to the left.
Keldhead is a large pond fed by a natural spring (keld is of course the old Norse word for a spring), and the beautifully clear water then flows over a small waterfall and south across the Vale of Pickering on its way to the Rye near Malton, in a canalised channel. We followed it down for about half a mile, to the point at which it enters a trout farm, and then walked back along the lane to the east of Keldhead There is some marshy land along the banks, but mostly the beck runs through farmland. There is an interesting variety of habitats, from open water and bankside vegetation through wetland and damp fields to scrubby woodland along the beck, and old hedges and roadside verges on the return leg, plus a new plantation of trees which has been established as a small wildlife reserve.
There were no particularly unusual plants (the list below is probably not complete!) but I was pleased to see blue water speedwell which was much bigger and bushier than usual at a good 3' tall. There was also a good show of water forget-me-not along the edges of the beck, and a number of willows which seemed to be hybrids. The wetter areas had reedmace, reeds, tall grasses and sedges along with yellow flag iris and osiers. I was much less pleased to see quite a spread of the invasive Himalayan Balsam around the pond on the main road side.
For the birders there were sedge warblers and reed buntings in one of the larger marshy areas, as well as two herons. A number of gulls flew over, as well as swallows and swifts. There were the usual farm- and woodland birds in the hedges and trees.
View of Costa Beck with one of the footbridges.
Grey heron, Coot, Mallard, Swallow, Swift, House Martin, Blackbird,Chaffinch,Starling,Wood Pigeon, Carrion Crow, Rook, Reed Bunting, Green Woodpecker, Sedge Warbler, Linnet, Wren, Herring Gull, Black-headed Gull, Magpie, Canada Goose, Greenfinch, Willow Warbler, Lapwing, Yellowhammer, Goldfinch, Pied Wagtail, Whitethroat, Sparrowhawk, (and possibly Grasshopper Warbler heard).
[Thanks to Jim for the list.]
Small Skipper, Small Tortoiseshell, Ringlet, Meadow Brown. The picture (right) shows what I think is a comma butterfly, taken a week later.
|Acer campestre||Maple, field|
|Anthriscus sylvestris||Cow parsley|
|Arrhenatherum elatius||False Oat|
|Berula erecta?||Lesser water parsnip|
|Calamagrostis epigejos||Bush Grass|
|Crepis capillaris||Hawksbeard, smooth|
|Cynosurus cristatus||Crested Dogstail|
|Epilobium ciliatum||Willowherb, American|
|Epilobium hirsutum||Willowherb, Great|
|Geranium pratense||Cranesbill, meadow|
|Hypericum sp.||St Johnswort, probably H. perforata|
|Impatiens glandulifera||Balsam, Himalayan|
|Iris pseudacorus||Yellow Iris or Flag|
|Lathyrus pratensis||Meadow vetchling|
|Lotus pedunculatus||Birdsfoot trefoil, Greater|
|Malva sylvestris||Mallow, common|
|Mercurialis perennis||Dogs mercury|
|Myosotis scorpioides||Forget-me-not, water|
|Rorippa nasturtium-aquaticum||Watercress, common|
|Phleum pratense||Timothy Grass|
|Potentilla reptans||Cinquefoil, creeping|
|Ranunculus acris||Buttercup, meadow|
|Ranunculus repens||Buttercup, creeping|
|Rosa canina||Rose, dog|
|Rosa sp||Rose, possibly multiflora, in planted woodland|
|Rumex acetosa||Sorrel, common|
|Rumex crispus||Dock, curled|
|Rumex obtusifolius||Dock, broad leaved|
|Rumex sanguineus||Dock, wood|
|Salix caprea||Willow, goat|
|Salix cinerea||Willow, grey|
|Salix fragilis||Willow, crack|
|Salix pentandra||Willow, bay|
|Salix viminalis||Willow, osier|
|Scrophularia auriculata||Figwort, water|
|Torilis japonica||Hedge parsley, upright|
|Typha latifolia||Reedmace, common|
|Veronica angallis-aquatica||Speedwell, water (blue)|
|Veronica beccabunga||Speedwell, brooklime|
|Veronica chamaedrys||Speedwell, germander|
|Vicia cracca||Vetch, tufted|
|Gill Smith July 2006||Back to the Index page|
© Ryedale Natural History Society 2006 Photos © Tom Denney 2006