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

Rosedale Community News

Welcome to the Rosedale blog. This is where we share news and information about events in Rosedale and the wider community throughout the year. You’ll also find news about the village timetable, our micro enterprises, school events, clubs, and lively socials.

Posts Tagged ‘Nature’

Dippers are pair bonding

We have dippers here on the River Seven in Rosedale.  They are early breeders and pair bonding is already underway at their nest sites.  Plenty of singing between them – females sing as well as males.  Plenty of picking up and dropping leaves, bowing with wings quivering and tail cocked.  Next month they will be well on with refurbishing their nests.  Updale Natural History Recorder

Pair of dippers

A splendid ageing oak tree

Its a month on and the old oak in Thorgill is still in full leaf and no doubt full of interesting creatures.  Only the moor in the background looks a bit parched with this prolonged gloriously hot summer.  Amazing after such a dry spell that trees can hang on to their leaves.  Deep roots is the answer.  A close up of the trunk just shows how trees can withstand serious weathering Updale Natural History Recorder

Old oak tree



A seriously aged trunk

White-letter hairstreak butterfly

Thrilled to find white-letter hairstreak butterfly here in Rosedale.  It is on the wing in July but not widely recorded here in the National Park.  It is a small butterfly and always rests with its wings closed showing the white hairline across its underside.  It has a white W towards the bottom tip of the hindwings which is not easily seen and orange marks along the bottom edge near the wing-tail.  They spend their time in the tops of trees and can be found on elm but more commonly now on wych elm.  They feed on aphid honeydew found on the leaves.

The best way to spot them is find a wych elm in a sunny but sheltered position and watch the canopy.  Eventually the small butterfly will flit about and land often from where it launched.  It is then easy to watch the butterfly through binoculars or photograph.  This white-letter hairstreak was seen on the wych elms at the junction of Daleside road and Knott road at Rosedale East.  It helps to have this glorious weather Updale Natural History Recorder

White-letter hairstreak at rest

White-letter hairstreak at near-by Hutton Common in 2014


Walking Festival – Exploring Rosedale’s Wildlife Habitats

On Saturday 23 June 2018 Rosedale’s Updale Natural History Recorder took 11 keen walkers along a journey through the dale visiting various habitats.  Walking alongside hedgerows full of dog rose and walls lined with foxgloves and ferns was a real pleasure.  The route included the river to Low Thorgill Farm, Thorgill and the hillside above Thorgill and the track north of Thorgill.

The banks of the River Seven hosted numerous birds nests including wren, robin, coal tit and dipper.  Trees and shrubs alongside added nests of great spotted woodpecker, blackcap, nuthatch, redstart and green woodpecker.  Further afield were willow warbler and chaffinch.  All but one nest had already hosted a brood this year and were no longer in use or were last year’s.  They gave a great insight in to bird breeding in the dale.  A pair of green woodpeckers were still feeding young in their nest hole high up in an ash tree alongside the river and the group were very lucky to watch one of the young peering out of the hole.  A spotted flycatcher performed what they do best, flitting out from a branch, taking an insect in mid-air and returning to the same perch.  Over the moor a red kite soared high and curlews gave protecting warning calls to their young.

The group visited habitats which favoured some less common flora.  Wet flushes revealed musk, creeping forgetmenot and round-leaved water crowfoot.  Unimproved acidic pasture hosted our locally rare heath spotted orchid (just the one), bitter vetchling, heath speedwell and heath bedstraw.  Close to the moor there was the delicate looking but robust chickweed wintergreen.  Both trailing and slender St John’s wort was encountered on a dry trackside leading up to the moor.  Three sedges included yellow, oval and remote.

It was good to see ringlet, common blue and small heath butterflies but none in great numbers despite the warm weather.

It was a pleasure to lead such an engaging and interested group Updale Natural History Recorder


Heath spotted orchid

Spotted flycatcher

Young green woodpecker still being fed in nest hole


Nuthatch success

You may recall here in late March a female nuthatch preparing an old woodpecker nest hole to use as her own. On 26th March she was seen taking mud to the old woodpecker hole and applying it in and around the entrance. She also carried wood chips which she stuck in the mud to help bulk it out. She does this to reduce the size of the entrance to minimise the risk of predation or another bird taking over the nest site. Twice a great tit was seen going in only to be chased out very aggressively by the male nuthatch. The male, distinguished by chestnut red flanks, keeps guard during the whole breeding process and will fend off any intruders. During the early stages he sang from just above the nest hole and from the top of the trees. The female continued to ‘mud up’ around the entrance and to watch her size the hole to fit her body exactly was intriguing. She would go in and then squeeze her body out slowly, presumably allowing the wet mud to adjust to her exact body shape.

On two days in April, 14th and 18th they were seen mating on a branch very close to the nest hole. It is not known if she had already started laying eggs by this time. Some birds mate up to 30 days before egg-laying, others just before and some during the egg-laying stage. Nuthatches usually lay 6-8 eggs and the female incubates them after having laid the last egg. Incubation lasts 15-16 days. During this time the male keeps guard and also occasionally feeds her at the nest hole. The female was certainly occupying the nest hole i.e. sitting on eggs, on 27th April when the male was seen to feed her at the nest hole three times at 20 minute intervals. She actually came out to see off a blue tit and went straight back in. Over the incubation period more often he was seen to ‘call for his lady’, peering in the hole and flying off closely followed by her and they would feed away for about 10 minutes before she returned to her duties.

On 12th May the female arrived at the nest hole a number of times with food for her newly hatched nestlings. Each time she was seen to dip down in to the hole and out and away. During these early stages of feeding the young the male wasn’t seen to help but was close by in the trees, occasionally being heard with a contact call or short song. The female occasionally went in the hole completely and brought out a fecal sac for disposal away from the nest, cleaning up after her young. As days passed, the male was also seen to feed the young. Feeding young nuthatches at the nest lasts for 23-25 days.

On 2nd June both adults were feeding at the nest hole and periodically a nestling would appear at the entrance awaiting delivery. Obviously the young were getting big enough to think about leaving. The next day fledging was in progress, with the young being coaxed out by the adults, both having food in their bills. An adult would call at the hole and hold on to the food working back on to a branch with a fledgling following to then receive the morsel. At least four of possibly 6-8 young nuthatches were seen coming out of the nest hole and up the tree trunk flitting about in the branches. The final act was the male entering the hole and exiting alone not to return. All gone. 26th March-3rd June: the privilege was all mine. Nature is wonderful, especially when she lets you in Updale Natural History Recorder

Female nuthatch preparing nest entrance

Mating or more precisely copulation taking place close to nest site

Male nuthatch on duty near nest hole, red flanks clearly visible

Well grown young nuthatch getting close to fledging

Lazy days with butterflies

Some nice butterflies on the wing to look out for on sunny lazy days here in Rosedale:

Wall butterfly, with its bright eye-spots on gleaming gold upperwings favour dry unfertilised grassland with places to bask in the sun like bare patches of ground or stone walls.  They rest with wings open.  A few along the bridleway north of Thorgill.
Small heath butterfly rests with its wings closed, but showing its gleaming eye-spot on the forewing for a while before tucking it completely down behind the hindwing exposing just the grey undersurface.  Can be seen on the grass track of the old railway line and on short grassland alongside.
Small copper butterfly very much reflects its name – small and copper coloured with black markings.  It is hyperactive and is generally flitting about.  It is often seen on Sheep sorrel which is its main food plant found on the moor and on grassland on the edge of the moor Updale Natural History Recorder


Small heath

Small copper

Green hairstreak butterfly on the wing

These beautiful small butterflies are on the wing and in small colonies on the moor here in Rosedale.  They are found on bilberry in a sunny spot with a bit of shelter from the breeze.  Males are very territorial and perch on a prominent branch awaiting passing females.  If disturbed they often return and settle on the same spot after a few frantic circuits.  However, they can be hard to spot as they are well camouflaged against the green leaves of bilberry.  Updale Natural History Recorder

Green hairstreak butterfly