Walkers Are Welcome Rosedale Abbey is part of the “This Exploited Land of Iron” Project. Click for more info.

Wild Rosedale

Rosedale is a wild and rugged landscape and is teeming with wildlife. In this section you will find posts relating to nature and events that celebrate our rich countryside.

Lesser sea spurrey

The name of this tiny mat-forming plant, Lesser sea spurrey Spergularia marina suggests it should be on the coast but what is it doing here in Rosedale?  It has found itself sporadically along the old railway line on the west side heading north from Chimney Bank.  It is usually found on coastal sands and salt marshes but is increasingly establishing itself on the side of roads where salt gritting takes place.  Walkers’ boots then help it migrate on to tracks.  It has tiny five-petalled flowers which only open for a few hours each day.  Blink and you will miss it.  Updale Natural History Recorder

Mat-forming lesser sea spurrey

Deep pink five-petalled flower

The fascination of a swarm of honey bees

Becky Hebron has had a swarm of honey bees in a hawthorn tree alongside her chicken huts for a few days and it was safely recovered by our Rosedale beekeepers Sheila Gray and Pete Widlinski. It is getting late in the season for honey bees to swarm but obviously the queen was ready to move on and thousands of the worker bees duly followed. Wherever the queen lands to rest the workers gather around her forming a clump. Meanwhile scout bees are sent out to find a suitable place for the new colony to live. This swarm could be upwards of 10,000 bees.

Pete and Sheila had fixed sticks in the bottom of a cardboard box to which the bees could attach themselves as they had done in the tree. Suits donned and with great expertise the pair encouraged the honey bees in to the box which was then turned upside down and left on the ground close by for a few hours so that any loose bees could join the swarm through small gaps. The bees will then be introduced to a new hive. Grateful thanks to Becky, Sheila and Pete. Updale Natural History Recorder

Swarm of honey bees

Carefully does it

The bees are in the box

Great spotted woodpecker

Great spotted woodpeckers are sometimes seen on peanut feeders. However, at this time of year they may bring their young which is a real treat. The adult will take peanuts to a juvenile close by. The juvenile has a red crown and greyish breast and belly. Grateful thanks to a local resident for these stunning photos.  Updale Natural History Recorder

Juvenile great spotted woodpecker waiting to be fed by male adult

Female great spotted woodpecker

Well I never

Don’t be tempted to dismiss the Green-veined White butterfly as just another ‘Cabbage White’. The underwing is a delicate beauty, the vein edges highlighted with a dusting of dark scales. But it gets better. Male Green-veined Whites flutter about seeking females perched among leaves. On finding his beau the male showers her with a ‘love dust’ strong enough that we can pick up the lemon verbena scent. Females are programmed to mate but once however, some are promiscuous and go looking for males, mating up to five times in their short lives. During mating the male also transfers proteins and nutrients which allows these promiscuous females to live longer. Who would have thought.

It’s a common butterfly on damp grassland and open woodland and they don’t do well in droughts. So now this rain has eased go and have a look. Updale Natural History Recorder

Green-veined white butterfly

Oystercatchers wading in

Great to see a pair of oystercatchers here in Rosedale this morning. There is every chance that they have nested here. They usually breed on the coast but over recent years more and more are coming inland to breed. Oystercatchers are wading birds eating cockles and mussels but inland live mainly on worms. Updale Natural History Recorder

One of a pair of oystercatchers

Lovely Lady

A truly amazing butterfly, the Painted Lady is with us right now, amazing because they migrate from Africa. Beautiful markings, hence it’s name and if you get close enough look out for the proboscis it uses to get nectar from flowers. Next time you see one looking a bit tatty and faded just remember how far it has come.  They breed here and adults on the wing later in summer will be in pristine condition. Updale Natural History Recorder

Painted Lady butterfly

Feeding on nectar using proboscis

Showing mottled underwing


The treecreeper is a common bird here in Rosedale but not always easily seen.  It is a small bird and well camouflaged with its mottled brown upperparts against the bark of trees as it works its way up feeding on insects.  It then flits to the foot of another tree and repeats the process.  It has white underparts, a curved thin bill and exceedingly long hindclaws which enables it to defy gravity.  It nests in the tiniest of cavities and crevices of trees often behind lose bark.  Updale Natural History Recorder

Treecreeper showing mottled brown upperparts

Treecreeper feeding young at nest in crevice

Dipper success

The dippers here on the River Seven are busy nesting. One pair got off to a very early start, the female having laid five eggs by 23 March. With an incubation period of 16-17 days all had hatched by 9 April. The chicks are fed at the nest for 18-20 days by both adults but these nestlings have been a bit slow to leave home and finally the last one was seen leaving the area of the nest this morning (1 May). Although they don’t yet have the clear white front of the adult bird they still bob or dip just like them. Unmistakable. Nature at its best. Updale Natural History Recorder

Adult dipper

Fledgling dipper