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Helmsley – June 15th 2013)

led by Gill Smith – Species lists below

spotted flycatcher 9 members met at Helmsley Bridge just after a torrential downpour for a walk along the river bank and then back along the lane from Low Woods Farm. The weather improved and we only suffered one more heavy shower before the sun came out at lunchtime. This was mainly a botanical walk to see the meadow saxifrage on the steep flower-rich bank above the river, but first we walked through the woods where martagon lilies grow wild (though presumably as a garden escape in the first place); they were in bud but not yet in flower.

We also did not find the giant bellflower that is known to grow here, again because it was not yet in flower – hardly a surprise in this very late spring. Along the way we were delighted to find a pair of spotted flycatchers feeding young in a nest hidden in a dead branch overhanging the river. One of the birds posed for a portrait (left). There didn’t seem to be too many other birds around, although there were plenty of sand martins from the colony a little further downstream and we heard a few farmland species on our return along the lane.

The bank above the water meadows once we emerged from the wood was a wonderful sight with many kinds of different wild flowers such as spotted orchids, buttercups, pignut, bugle and many others, including the meadow saxifrage that is now rare in Ryedale. This is a wonderful stretch of unimproved grassland – long may it remain so.

wildflower bank
Wildflower bank

Jim decided to continue down to the sand martin colony and return on the other side of the river (where he saw a grey wagtail and a goldfinch) while the rest of us turned away from the river and returned to Helmsley via the pleasant, rather old-fashioned lane with flower-rich verges leading from Low Woods Farm. It is a pleasure to see such verges that are neither sprayed nor cut to resemble lawns; not only are they good botanically but they are good for insects, small animals and birds – there were whitethroats, blackcaps and yellowhammers singing in the hedges along the way.

wildflower lane
Wildflower lane

Species lists – Plants

Latin NameCommon Name
Acer campestreField maple
Acer pseudoplatanusSycamore
Achillea millefoliumYarrow
Ajuga reptansBugle
Alchemilla xanthochloraLady's mantle
Alliaria petiolataHedge garlic or Garlic mustard
Allium ursinumRamsons
Alnus glutinosaAlder
Alopecurus pratensisMeadow foxtail
Anemone nemorosaWood anemone
Anisantha sterilis (Bromus sterilis)Barren brome
Anthoxanthum odoratumSweet vernal grass
Anthriscus caucalisBur chervil
Anthriscus sylvestrisCow parsley
Arctium minusBurdock
Arrhenatherum elatiusFalse oat
Arum maculatumCuckoo pint
Asplenium ruta-murariaWall Rue
Bellis perennisDaisy
Betula sp.Birch
Briza mediaQuaking grass
Capsella bursa-pastorisShepherd's purse
Cardamine pratensisMilkmaid, cuckoo-flower or lady's smock
Carex flaccaGlaucous sedge
Centaurea nigraCommon knapweed
Cerastium fontanumCommon mouse-ear
Chenopodium albumFat hen
Circaea lutetianaEnchanterís nightshade
Cirsium arvenseCreeping thistle
Cirsium palustreMarsh thistle
Cirsium vulgareSpear thistle
Cornus sanguineaDogwood
Corylus avellanaHazel
Crataegus monogynaHawthorn
Cruciata laevipesCrosswort
Cymbalaria muralisIvy-leaved toadflax
Cynosurus cristatusCrested dogstail
Dactylis glomerataCocksfoot
Dactylorhiza fuchsiiCommon spotted orchid
Dryopteris dilatataCommon buckler fern
Dryopteris filix-masMale fern
Elymus caninus = AgropyronBearded couch
Epilobium ciliatumAmerican willowherb
Epilobium hirsutum (?)Great willowherb
Epilobium montanumBroad-leaved willowherb
Fagus sylvaticaBeech
Festuca rubraRed fescue
Filipendula ulmariaMeadowsweet
Fumaria officinalisCommon fumitory
Galium aparineCleavers
Galium odoratumWoodruff
Geranium pratenseMeadow cranesbill
Geranium robertianumHerb Robert
Glechoma hederaceaGround ivy
Glyceria notataFlote grass
Hedera helixIvy
Heracleum sphondyliumHogweed
Holcus lanatusYorkshire fog
Hyacinthoides non-scriptaBluebell
Ilex aquifoliumHolly
Juncus effususSoft rush
Lamium albumWhite dead nettle
Lamium purpureumRed dead nettle
Lapsana communisNipplewort
Larix sp. (L. decidua)Larch
Lathrea squamariaToothwort
Lathyrus pratensisMeadow vetchling
Leontodon hispidusRough hawkbit
Lotus corniculatusCommon birdsfoot trefoil
Lilium martagonMartagon lily
Luzula campestrisField woodrush
Luzula sylvaticaGreater woodrush
Malva sylvestrisCommon mallow
Matricaria discoideaPineapple weed
Medicago lupulinaBlack medick
Mercurialis perennisDog's mercury
Myosotis arvensisField forgetmenot
Myosotis sylvaticaWood forgetmenot
Myrrhis odorataSweet cicely
Oxalis acetosellaWood sorrel
Petasites hybridusButterbur
Phyllitis scolopendrium = Asplenium scolopendriumHartstongue
Plantago lanceolataRibwort plantain
Plantago majorRatstail plantain
Poa annuaAnnual meadow grass
Poa trivialisRough meadow grass
Polystichum aculeatumHard shield fern
Polystichum setiferumSoft shield fern
Potentilla anserinaSilverweed
Potentilla reptansCreeping cinquefoil
Potentilla sterilisBarren strawberry
Primula vulgarisPrimrose
Prunella vulgarisSelf heal
Prunus spinosaBlackthorn
Pteridium aquilinumBracken
Quercus sp.Oak
Ranunculus ficaria = Ficaria verna ssp fertilisLesser celandine
Rhinanthus minorYellow rattle
Rosa caninaDog rose
Rubus caesiusDewberry
Rubus fruticosusBramble
Rubus idaeusRaspberry
Rumex acetosaCommon sorrel
Rumex obtusifoliusBroad-leaved dock
Rumex sanguineusWood dock
Salix capreaGoat willow
Sambucus nigraElder
Saxifraga granulataMeadow saxifrage
Senecio jacobeaCommon ragwort
Senecio vulgarisCommon groundsel
Silene dioicaRed campion
Silene latifoliaWhite campion
Sisymbrium officinalisHedge mustard
Sonchus oleraceusSmooth sowthistle
Stachys officinalis = Betonica officinalisBetony
Stachys sylvaticaHedge woundwort
Stellaria holosteaGreater stitchwort
Stellaria mediaChickweed
Stellaria nemorumWood stitchwort
Symphoricarpos albusSnowberry
Tamus communisBlack bryony
Taraxacum sp.Dandelion
Thlaspi arvensePennycress
Tilia cordataSmall-leaved lime
Tilia ◊ vulgaris (2063 ◊ 2064)Common lime
Trifolium pratenseRed clover
Trifolium repensWhite clover
Ulex europaeusGorse
Ulmus glabraWych elm
Ulmus proceraEnglish elm
Urtica dioicaNettle
Veronica arvensisWall speedwell
Veronica beccabungaBrooklime
Veronica chamaedrysGermander speedwell
Veronica montanaWood speedwell
Veronica persicaCommon field speedwell
Vicia craccaTufted vetch
Vicia sepiumBush vetch


meadow saxifrage
Meadow saxifrage

Blackbird, Swallow, House Martin, Sand Martin, Swift, Woodpigeon, Song Thrush, Wren, Garden Warbler, Chiffchaff, Great Tit, Willow Warbler, Chaffinch, Jackdaw, Robin, Whitethroat, Rook, Pied Wagtail, Spot Fly, Grey Wagtail and Goldfinch, Linnet, Yellowhammer.
(thanks to Jim Pewtress for the list).

4 Large White, one Small White, one Green-veined White and three Orange Tips.
(thanks again to Jim for the list).

Xylaria longipes (Dead Moll’s fingers), and Xylaria carpophila
(thanks to Rhona Sutherland for the list).

© Ryedale Natural History Society 2013. Photos © Gill Smith 2013 and Jayne Smith 2013 (Spotted Flycatcher) Back to the Home page