To see five brown hares together recently on a morning which brought a hard frost was a real treat. Who knows boxing might start soon! Updale Natural History Recorder
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.
A couple of roe deer does showing themselves well in Hartoft during our wintery weather. Roe deer are reddish brown in summer but adopt this dull brown coat in winter. There appears to be an obvious light patch on the necks. Updale Natural History Recorder
Fantastic to see these secretive and increasingly rare birds here in Rosedale. At least five hawfinches are in and around the churchyard feeding on yew berries. The hawfinch is the largest of our finches with a top-heavy look due to a large bill and thick neck. With this powerful bill the hawfinch is able to crack open cherry stones. They also feed on seeds from hornbeam and yew. Autumn 2017 saw an unusually large influx in to the UK as a result of a crop failure in Europe and there have been a number of sightings in North Yorkshire. But how lucky we are to get some in Rosedale and it certainly could be a first record for some time. With great appreciation to Craig and Helen at Abbey Stores for the tip-off and the best view of these shy birds. Updale Natural History Recorder
Stunningly beautiful walk in the snow at dusk along the old railway line at Rosedale East. The low mist adds to the atmospheric conditions as the light fades. A pair of stonechats break the silence with their presence as do three wrens flitting together in the rushes Updale Natural History Recorder
The yews and holly in our churchyard are full of berries and redwings are taking full advantage during the cold weather. Redwings are a winter migrant and arrive here during October and November. They are the smallest of the UK true thrushes and are identified by the distinctive cream stripe above the eye and an orange-red flank patch. Easily disturbed but a little patience and they can be seen plucking and eating the red yew berries. Updale Natural History Recorder
Sad to see a roadkill woodcock on an early morning walk but a chance to study the extraordinary plumage of this beautiful wader. Woodcocks breed here in Rosedale but during Autumn and Winter numbers are bolstered by an influx from abroad. The woodcock is similar to the snipe with a very long bill but it is slightly larger and russet-brown with short legs and a barred crown. Woodcock live in marshland and damp wooded areas and can sometimes flush from ditches. They are perfectly camouflaged in leaf litter with their mottled feathers and often go undetected. Woodcocks are nocturnal, spending the day resting up and at night feeding in the open, mainly on worms. To see and hear a male woodcock’s display flight called roding in Spring is another of nature’s delights Updale Natural History Recorder
Ever wondered what barn owls feed on? Well here it is. Barn owls typically eat small prey items such as mice and voles. They swallow them whole and their digestive system extracts the nutrition as juices and forms a pellet with the remains, namely bones and fur which cannot be digested. The pellet, which is black is regurgitated and dropped from the beak, approximately 6 hours afterwards. A pellet can contain the remains of 2-5 prey items depending on the prey. By collecting and studying these pellets the diet of the barn owl can be monitored which in turn tells us what small mammals are present in our countryside. One such study is being conducted by Derek Capes of Great Ayton to establish the extent of harvest mice within the National Park. Sample pellets from various locations are collected twice a year for analysis. Such is Derek’s knowledge of small mammals he only needs to see the jaw bone in order to identify the species. Two barn owl roost locations in Rosedale provide good numbers of pellets and the results, below are fascinating.
The field vole is the dominant prey for the barn owl with common shrew being an important secondary prey species. Field voles are more nutritious therefore less are required. Shrews are less so and the barn owl needs to expend more energy hunting a higher number. Results have revealed the presence of harvest mice here in the dale. Normally associated with arable crops the harvest mouse is also found to nest in long rough grass and rushes. A local resident at Rosedale East has actually seen harvest mice whilst cutting his grass. He has also provided this fabulous photo of one of our resident barn owls. Very much appreciated.
51 barn owl pellets collected in February 2017 in Rosedale East revealed 8 mammal species present, a total of 254 prey items with mean prey items per pellet of 4.98:
90 Field vole
1 Bank vole
16 Wood mouse
1 Harvest mouse
11 Brown rat
85 Common shrew
43 Pygmy shrew
1 Water shrew
80 barn owl pellets collected in February 2017 in Rosedale West revealed 8 mammal species present, a total of 397 prey items with mean prey items per pellet of 4.96:
132 Field vole
12 Bank vole
7 Wood mouse
1 Harvest mouse
5 Brown rat
162 Common shrew
72 Pygmy shrew
4 Water shrew
The next pellet sample collections are in progress and the results will reveal mammal species over the Spring and Summer seasons. Updale Natural History Recorder
A real autumnal feel walking through the dale this weekend. Birds and mammals taking full advantage of the seasonal bounty along our hedgerows. Hazels Corylus avellana full of cobnuts and Guelder Rose Viburnum opulus laden with shiny red berries. Good to be out. Updale Natural History Recorder
Brook lamprey are some of the most primitive vertebrates alive today and they are spawning in our river here in Rosedale right now. They are jawless, having a round sucker-like mouth and small round gill openings on the sides of the head. They have two dorsal fins and are about 15cm long. They spawn in clean gravel beds. Wonder if they know how excited Rosedale folk are about the TDY! Updale Natural History Recorder
The 2014 Walking Festival in Rosedale was blessed with reasonable weather this year so that around 40 hikers took part in the wide variety of walks over Saturday and Sunday 14 to 15 June.