Purple Hairstreak and the Butterfly Count

Saturday was the Butterfly Count walk organised by Bracken Hall Countryside Centre. I went along because of the promise of looking for Purple Hairstreak butterflies.

You have until 12th August to take part in the Big Butterfly Count organised by Butterfly Conservation.

Purplae Hairstreak

We found quite a few Purple Hairstreak and spent quite a lot of time looking specifically for them. They are tree butterflies so are usually happy to be in the canopy of their favourite tree – the Oak – where they feed on Honeydew (the sugary secretion of Aphids).

Purplae Hairstreak

Bracken Hall Green is a good place to see Purple Hairstreak because you can stand on the rocks at the edge and look at the tops of the Oak trees. Some of the leaves are within touching distance but care is required because there is quite a drop if you slip off the rocks. Even when you have sight of the tops of the trees they can be difficult to spot. The most reliable way is to watch for small butterflies in the air, watch where they land and then train binoculars on the spot.

Small Copper

We also saw several Samll Copper butterflies. This one settled on the rocks for a few seconds.

Pair of Small Copper

I then went down to Trench Meadow looking for White Letter Hairstreaks but no luck. I did have this mating pair of Small Coppers pointed out to me.

Small White

The thistles had mostly gone to seed but there was still lots of Knapweed that was teeming with bees, hoverflies and Small White butterflies.

Speckled Wood

Several Speckled Woods were around too.

Speckled Wood

Speckled Wood


Lesser Hornet mimic Hoverfly





Wrose transmotters and Emley Moor Transmitters

Walking back up to Bracken Hall Green I decided that visibility was quite good so I decided to try my new long lens out on the view of Emley Moor. I think it is not bad but I will keep my eyes open for days with better visibility.

I have taken photos of this view before. It is taken from near Reva Reservoir, looking over Baildon for 3 1/4 miles to the transmitters at Wrose and then over the whole of Bradford for a total of 19 miles to Emley Moor transmitter in the distance. The mast on the right has been erected as a temporary transmitter while work is being done on the big one.

Hornet Hoverfly?

This is a quick posting due to me not being sure, and wanting to find out more, about the Hoverfly. I’ll update the post once I have more confirmed info.

Hornet Hoverfly

It looks like a Hornet Hoverfly (Volucella zonaria). This is a view from the side. The abdomen is quite fat, not like the more common hoverfly that has a very thin abdomen.

I would like confirmation as to what type of Hoverfly it is. The internet talks about the distribution of the Hornet Hoverfly moving up from the South. Is it a frequent sighting around Bradford/Yorkshire?

Another type of Hornet mimic Hoverfly that someone mentioned is Volucella inanis which, given the location, is more likely.

Hornet Hoverfly

And a view from the top.

Mint Moth on Oragano

This is a view of a Mint moth on Oregano taken the same day as the Hoverfly. I have added this one just for the fun of it.

Denso Marston Nature Reserve early July

On 11 July 2018 I went for a walk at Denso Marston Nature Reserve along the river Aire with my camera.

As usual you can click on any of the images to view them on flickr within the album where you can see more photos of the visit.

 Grey Squirrel

Before I get around to the Denso photos here’s a couple from our garden. A Grey Squirrel eating some of the the food that has dropped from the bird feeder.

Wood Pigeon

And a Wood Pigeon that feeds in the same area.

Small White

I spent a few minutes by the pond at DMNR watching Moorhen, fish, Damselflies and quite a few Small White butterflies flitting about.

Juvenile Jay

Quite often I see Jays at Denso Marston Reserve but usually they have already seen me and are flying away. Having just been quiet near the pond perhaps this juvenile was not too spooked by my presence.

Juvenile Jays

I then spotted two more close by, all the same family I expect.

Small Skipper

A few Small Skippers were also flitting around the river banks.

Juvenile Robin

Over on the Spider Club bird feeder were a couple of juvenile Robins. They didn’t seem as wary as the adults.


I have hundred of photos of Grey Herons that I have taken over several years but this is the first time I have seen one pretending to be a Swan. It is possible that it still has its feet on the river bed but it looks unusual for a Grey Heron.


It then seemed to give itself a good shake.


And started hunting out fish. The stretched out neck and the reflection is good in this. I am impressed that there is no splash or ripple though.


To me Grey Herons look all wings, neck and legs with a tiny body in the middle to hang everything off. It is amazing that they can get large fish down their throats but even more amazing that there is room for the fish in their stomachs; their bodies don’t seem big enough. This one is just coming in to land and has lots of eddy currents stirring up its wing feathers.

This photo was taken just after the one at the top of this blog posting – the featured image as it’s called – the one that appears on Twitter, Facebook and G+ when the post is shared.

Photos and blurb from other visits to DMNR can be seen at these blog posts:-

There are others, feel free to type “Denso” into the search box.

Wildlife photos from July 2018 (and other snaps)

The emphasis of my wanderings this last week or so has been on butterflies. The Buddleia in the garden has been swarming with Large Whites and Peacocks with a fair sprinkling of Comma, Painted Lady and Red Admiral. This, and tweets/postings re butterflies to and from @BCYorkshire, got me hunting in the garden and along Baildon Bank -> Baildon Green to just short of Midgeley Wood.

Apologies for starting off with a rubbish photo but I think this is the first time I have noticed one of these butterflies. The post is quite long but I hope you like the photos and  as usual they are on flickr within an album that has more photos. Feel free to visit the album to see the others or click on an image that will take you to that image in the album.

Hopefully I have identified most things correctly but if you are an expert feel free to put me right.

Purple Hairstreak?? on Oak leaves

I think this is a Purple Hairstreak (Favonius quercus). It is on the leaves of an Oak tree at the western end of Baildon Bank. After starting with a poor photo I’ll move on to some better ones. Well at least I think they are better.

Mint Moth (Pyrausta aurata)

This is a Mint Moth (Pyrausta aurata). We appear to have 2 in the garden, 1 on each clump of Oregano. They are small and can very easily hide under small leaves. At full stretch it is about 1.5 cm across = small.

There are more photos of it in the flickr album that show it with wings stretched looking almost as bis as the bee that is behind it. Another shows the underside of its wings.

Holly Blue

A small butterfly we have had in the garden is the Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus). Here it has settled on the Oregano but is usually just flitting through.Holly Blue

I also managed to spot Holly Blue on an apple tree and blackcurrant bushes near the back of Baildon Community Link.

Red Admiral Butterfly

A larger butterfly that we have had on the Buddleia is the Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta). This shot was getting quite close and personal.

Red Admiral Butterfly

Red Admiral

Painted Lady Butterfly

Another large butterfly, still one of the aristocrats, that liked the Buddleia was a Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)

Painted Lady Butterfly

Painted Lady. This one shows its spread wings.

Comma Butterfly

We have also had a few Comma butterflies

Peacock Butterfly

This Peacock (Aglais io) that visited the Buddleia looks as though it is cleaning its proboscis using its front legs.

Peacock Butterfly


Large Whites

Many Large White (Pieris brassicae) have been fluttering through the garden and sometimes settling on the Buddleia. These two look like they are about to have a go at a bit of mating.

Large Whites

Large White. Though I must admit to wondering if they are Small Whites. I am hoping to get some more photos of the smaller ones that have pale yellow undersides to their rear wings.


A couple of times I have spotted a Gatekeeper (Pyronia tithonus) in the garden but these 2 were seen on Baildon Bank.

Small Copper

Here we have a Gatekeeper, a Small Copper and 2 small wasps(?) out on Baildon Bank.

Small Copper

This is a better view of the underwing of a Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas)

Small Copper

And this shows the upperwing of a Small Copper

?? Meadow Brown

I think this is a Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina)


And this one is a Ringlet (Aphantopus hyperantus)


Here we have 3 Ringlet butterflies sharing a Blackberry flower. Another photo on flickr shows one of them with a wasp.

Speckled Wood Butterfly

Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria) butterflies are one of those that you suddenly see flying up from the grass of path as you get close.

Speckled Wood Butterfly

As the Speckled Wood flies off it might disturb another and they can spend some time flitting around each other in the speckled sunlight.

Speckled Wood Butterfly

Speckled Wood

Moth Silhouette on the window

I spotted this moth silhouette on our dining room window with the evening sun shining through it. I have no idea what kind it is other than quite small.

Grass hopper

Out and about I could here Grass Hoppers and several times saw something jump away from me. After seeing where one landed I managed to get close enough to take a photo.

Grass hopper

Several years ago I remember hearing Grass Hoppers at Baildon Green and found lots of them on the short stone pillars next to the path. For quite a stretch between Thompson Lane and Baildon Green there seemed to be between 5 and 15 Grass Hoppers on each stone pillar. So this week I glanced at each pillar as I walked past. I only saw 1 Grass Hopper.

Tiny insects on the Buddleia

Back home I had noticed insects on the Buddleia varying in size from tiny to small. A couple of other photos show that the Buddleia was teeming with these tiny ones.

Tiny insects on the Buddleia

Tiny insects on the Buddleia – Several of the flower heads had dozens of these little critters. Very similar to the pollen beetles I saw on the thistles ner Shipley Station.

Tiny insects on the Buddleia

Tiny and small insects on the Buddleia. Here we are actually looking at the back of the small beetle, almost from behind it. Its “shoulders” look very much like a head with what could be a mouth ready to bite any predator.

Tiny insects on the Buddleia

Small flying insects on the Buddleia

Insect on Oregano

Small flying insect on Oregano

Hover fly

Hover fly on the Buddleia


Wasp on the Buddleia

Honey Bee

Honey Bees were very busy during the bright sun, feeding on the Buddleia

White Tailed Bumblebee

As were White Tailed Bumblebees but not in such large numbers.


While I was watching the wildlife around the Buddleia a Bullfinch or two flew between the houses and I managed to spot were one landed.

Acorns growing

Acorns growing on Oak trees on Baildon Bank.

Salt's Mill from Baildon Bank

At several places along Baildon Bank you can get good views out over Saltaire. This is New Mill/Salt’s Mill and Saltaire village.

Salt's Mill from Baildon Bank

And this view of Salt’s Mill from Baildon Bank shows the chimney. You can see some photos of mine taken from the top of the chimney here.

Rosse Systems, Shipley from Baildon Bank

You can also get views of parts of Shipley that you don’t often drive past like Rosse Systems

Spider eyes?

When I am walking about around grass I keep my eyes open for regular shaped holes or tracks. These two looked big enough for a small rodent but look as though they are used by spiders. It was strange to see 2 next to each other like that.

Holly Blue

For several days now I have seen Holly Blue butterflies flying through our garden. I didn’t know where they had come from or where they were going.

Just to be different these images are all within the blog. They are NOT part of a flickr album. Clicking on them should load a bigger version though.

Yesterday I saw one of them stop on its way through and it gave me time to get my camera.

The Buddleia is now getting its flowers so over the next few weeks I expect to see more butterflies. The first to feed on the bush this year was this Small Tortoiseshell. Several Large Whites have also been flying through the garden, seem to approach the Buddleia, but as yet haven’t settled on anything.