Wildlife on Allerthorpe Common

Yesterday we had our monthly work day at Allerthorpe Common, controlling the birch regrowth which threatens to turn this increasingly rare lowland heath habitat into a birch woodland. We soon disturbed a wasps' nest, so had to avoid that area for the rest of the day. I was stung by a wasp last week and didn't want to repeat the experience - I react badly.

Pellets from the Barn owl box

We stopped for a coffee break and checked the barn owl box, which we were sure had not been occupied this summer. In fact, it contained a heap of pine 'cuttings', presumably nesting material for a grey squirrel, together with a number of barn owl pellets. It appears that neither species has actually nested there.

Red-veined darter on a matching shirt

Common lizard on a daypack

 A not so Common lizard

Red admiral on an oak tree

At lunchtime, we were visited first by a Red-veined darter dragonfly, which landed on a volunteer's shirt, and then by a Common lizard which was on a daypack. We noticed a Red admiral butterfly was spending a lot of time in the fork of a dead branch on an oak tree, presumably sucking sap from the branch. The heather, which covers a large part of the reserve, is in full flower.

The heather is at its best

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