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September 2009

1st - Horse Chestnut’s are now widely ripening in the local area, with a few seen on the ground here and there. In the evening a rumble of thunder was heard from a passing shower.

2nd - Berries are now in abundance with Haws (4/5), Elder (3/5), Blackberries (3/5), and Sloes (4/5) providing plenty of wild food for man, beast, and fowl alike.

3rd - Persistent rain last night produced nearly 16 mm’s. In the afternoon there was a period of strong and gusty winds as the pressure fell to 986 mbar.

8th - Very warm today, the thermometer reaching 25.6 C. However in the evening there was a short spell of strong gusts around 8 pm, which most have been a cold front or trough passing through the area. Indeed it was some 6 C cooler the next day.

9th - A Swift was seen overhead amongst a flock of House Martins, certainly one of the latest observations on my records. Butterflies are also around in good numbers still, with Red Admirals now apparent in good numbers. Other species seen at the moment include Whites, Speckled Wood, Comma, and still a few Painted Ladies.

10th - Collected five good Conkers under the Westwood Horse Chestnuts.

11th - Increasing numbers of trees are now showing at least a hint of tint. Additionally the garden Yews are absolutely covered in berries at the moment, this attracting the local thrushes.

12th - Observed Jupiter, which is the brightest object in the evening sky at the moment, through a 60mm spotting scope. It was powerful enough to reveal the four Galilean moons (Io, Europa, Ganymede, & Callisto), and a hint of two dark bands on the planet itself. When I observed Callisto and Ganymede were to the east of the planet, with Io and Europa on the western side. Io was closest to Jupiter with the other three much more distant, with Callisto probably the greatest distance away. A fantastic sight and far better than I had been expecting with my rather modest scope.

13th, Coldwold, Sylvandale, & Nettledale - A good walk on a grey, damp and cool morning, though conditions improved as the walk went on. All the crops are now in, including Oats, a crop which has proved to be more popular than usual on the Wolds this year. Potato’s are still coming in though, and will probably continue to be doing so for at least another fortnight. Wildlife wise there was not much about this morning, though we did see a couple of Red Kites, as well as a Stoat at one point. Nevertheless it was an interesting and pleasant walk.

15th - Collected another dozen Conkers this morning.

16th, North Cliffe Wood - A good early autumn walk around this lovely little wood. Not much colour in the trees yet, though the Silver Birches are showing some golden tints and on the forest floor the Bracken is starting to die back and turn coppery. However fruits and nuts are now in plenitude, with blackberries still going strong, even though that back in Beverley they have now concluded. Acorns are not ripe yet, though they are now full grown, and the same goes for the Hazelnuts.

On the woodland floor fungi is now appearing all over the place, virtually none of which that I could confidently identify as mushrooms and toadstools are largely a mystery to me. However I did manage to identify Scleroderma Citrinum (Earth Ball), which was growing largely out on the heath, lots of Piptoporus Betulinus (Birch Bracket), a few Amanita Fulva (Tawny Grisette), and what I thought could be Lepista Saeva (Blewit), which is a fairly uncommon grassland fungi, though I’m not certain about my identifying skills on this last one. Birdwise there were a few interesting observations, including a Jay, Marsh or Willow tits, leaf warblers, and a female Blackcap. This little wood never disappoints.

19th - There was thick fog at first this morning.

20th, Brattwood - Jenny joined us today on what was a beautiful autumn day, with long spells of sunshine and temperatures in the mid teens. The woods are still green but it’s the plants of the forest floor which are showing the season, with them all looking tired with some already dying back. The plentiful fruits also betray the season, with red haws and hips, black elderberries, and the bluey black Sloes all being seen in the areas hedgerows. Less seasonal however was a singing Chiffchaff in the low wood, no doubt enjoying its last week or so in the country before heading southwards for the coming winter. Visibility was very good today, with the Pennines clearly visible in the distance and York Minster and the Race course also readily identifiable without the aid of field glasses. Indeed from our unobstructed view we could probably see at least half of the broad acres of Yorkshire, surely one of the most wonderful sights one could behold in this nation or indeed any other.

21st, Nidderdale Show - Visited my favourite agricultural show at Pately Bridge today, held as it is in truly one of the most beautiful corners of Yorkshire. We set off at 6.30 am and arrived at the village about two hours later, beating the crowds which begin to appear from 11 am onwards. The weather was grey and chilly and the cloud was thick enough for the odd spot of rain or drizzle, though the fresh south-south-westerly breeze probably kept the rain from becoming anything more significant. The show was as well organised as usual and there was plenty of livestock on show, including cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, horses, chickens, ducks, geese, pigeons, guinea pigs, rabbits, and dogs. Indeed there is always so much here that you can never see it all, for as Nidderdale is the last show of the year in Yorkshire it always attracts many entrants from around the county, and it is well known for its quality and the fact it has remained very much an agricultural show and resisted the many trivial aspects of so many modern country shows. The cattle and dairy entrants are always of very high standard here, and of course this being in the heart of upland Yorkshire, the sheep are likewise, with a good number of breeds represented. The heavy Horses are also a popular and favourite attraction, while I personally also enjoy looking at many of the current and vintage machinery on show. It was here that my Dad and I met a very interesting gentleman with his classic car and we enjoyed a long chat with him on the subject of cars and his career in the service of this nation. It’s enthusiasts and people like these whom to me epitomise everything that is great about England and its people, and I wish him all the best for the future and may he continue to bring his vintage car to the show for many more years to come. After spending a few enjoyable hours at the show we decided to head for home, taking a pleasant rural route through Nidderdale on the return journey.

23rd - Looked at Jupiter again this evening, and I was again treated to a beautiful view of this largest of all the planets in our solar system. This time three of the moons were to the east, with Europa and Ganymede close together and quite near Jupiter itself, whereas Callisto was quite distant from the rest. Io, like on the 12th, was to the west of the planet and relatively close.

24th - Two dozen Golden Plovers flew over at 7 am, heading south-eastwards. Later in the day at around 3 pm at least fifty were again seen, though this time they were heading back north-westwards.

26th - Swallow numbers have now significantly reduced in the skies above, though Martins are still regularly seen passing overhead. Took advantage of clear evening skies this evening to take another look at Jupiter and see what changes have occurred since my last observation on the 23rd. Only the one moon was to the east of the planet this time when I viewed, this being Ganymede, with the other three all to the west, with Io again closest, and Callisto the most distant.

28th - A small skein of Grey Geese flew over at 7 am.

29th - Butterfly numbers are now in decline I think, and amongst the trees there is some good colour coming through now, especially amongst the Horse Chestnuts, the Swedish Whitebeam, and the Field Maples.

30th - I felt a minor tremor around 1 pm, and this was confirmed by the British Geological Survey which reported that a tremor of 2.9 on the Richter Scale was measured in an area near Goole.