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by Gill Smith

Painted lady butterflyThe Ryedale Natural History Society had a varied programme to start our second forty years, with a good variety of field trips, which are summarised in this Newsletter (the species lists are available from the Editor and are posted on the website).

We have articles on this year’s waxwing invasion, public access, moorland management, and an interesting collection of dialect terms for plants and animals, as well as the Recordersí reports. The Insect report contains some previously unpublished species for Yorkshire, and the Botany report also mentions two species new to the area, confirming that Ryedale is still a rich area for natural history, with 111 bird species recorded this year and 27 mammals (a considerable increase on last year). The botanical highlight for me was the trip to the chalk grassland of Fordon Bank and the old quarry at Wharram where there was such a profusion of wildflowers that it reminded me of an alpine garden. I am particularly keen on the species-rich downland turf of the Wolds, which is in marked contrast to the rather sad state of many of our local verges, which are either left unmanaged in which case they become overgrown with rather coarse vegetation such as cow parsley, cocksfoot grass and encroaching scrub, or alternatively are mown very short as strips of lawn which may look “tidy” but are botanically poor. One feels there must be a happy medium, a cutting regime that keeps the ranker plants at bay but allows the smaller wildflowers to flourish and seed.

I was delighted that several of the Recorders have again received reports from a number of members, and encourage you all to submit your records and observations. These do not have to be of rare or unusual species, it is also interesting to have up to date information on our commoner plants and animals, their habitats and behaviour. Please send your records either to the relevant Recorder or to me.

Photo © Tom Denney 2004

February 2005

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© Ryedale Natural History Society 2005.