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Kilburn White Horse June 16th 1999

Woodland scene

About half a dozen members joined the trip to Kilburn. The weather was kind and we had a very enjoyable trip led by Don Buckle, with Jim Pewtress and Nan Sykes on hand with their expertise on birds and plants respectively. We didn’t actually see many birds, but heard plenty including four species of warblers. The walk was in woodland along the lower part of the scarp immediately under the White Horse.cardinal beetle Some of the woodland was of planted conifers, some of more scattered broad-leaved trees plus glades and local wetter or boggy patches. This gave a wide variety of habitats, especially with the track- and pathside edges included. Most of the plants suggest a fairly neutral soil, although there were one or two lime-lovers (e.g. Quaking Grass, which was growing at the track-side near limestone gravel). We recorded 22 birds, almost 70 plants in bud or flower, 15 with leaves only, 4 ferns, 3 sedges and at least 12 grasses, plus 26 trees. We didn’t see very many insects, but there was one splendid cardinal beetle (see right).

group of peopleWe recorded the following:



In the dense foliage it was difficult to see the birds, but there were a good number singing. In several places both blackcap and garden warbler were singing close together, which meant we could compare the two songs and try and learn which was which (not an easy task!). We also heard a wood warbler producing both the trilling and the piping variants of its song, and a chiff chaff making a quiet chirrup in between its “chiff-chaffs”. We saw or heard:

SparrowhawkKestrelTawny OwlSwift
BlackbirdSong ThrushRobinWren
House MartinBlackcapGarden WarblerChiffchaff
Willow WarblerWood WarblerGoldcrestLong Tailed Tit
Blue TitGreat TitMarsh TitCarrion Crow


landscape view
General view (from our lunch spot)

The list below is split into those plants seen in bud or flower, those where only leaves were seen (including ferns and horsetails), grasses and sedges and trees. It is not a complete list of all the plants seen, for instance I did not list all the common species present. I have not listed all the grasses or sedges but have included the easily recognised ones. Nor have I listed trees in any detail.

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English NameLatin Name
Plants in Bud/Flower
AngelicaAngelica sylvestris
Avens, woodGeum urbanum
BilberryVaccinium myrtillus
Birdsfoot Trefoil
Birdsfoot Trefoil
Lotus corniculatus
Bittercress, wavyCardamine flexuosa
BluebellHyacinthoides nonscripta
BrambleRubus fruticosus
Veronica beccabunga
Ajuga reptans
BurdockArctium minus
Buttercup, creepingRanunculus repens
Buttercup meadow Ranunculus acris
Campion, redSilene dioica
CatsearHypochaeris radicata
CleaversGalium aparine
Clover, redTrifolium pratense
Clover, whiteTrifolium repens
Cow parsleyAnthriscus sylvestris
CrosswortGalium cruciata
DandelionTaraxacum sp.
DockRumex sp.
EyebrightEuphrasia officinalis agg.
Figwort, commonScrophularia nodosa
Figwort, waterScrophularia auriculata
Forgetmenot, fieldMyosotis arvensis
Forgetmenot, woodMyosotis sylvatica
Digitalis purpurea
GorseUlex europaeus
Herb robertGeranium robertianum
HogweedHeracleum sphondylium
HoneysuckleLonicera periclymenum
Lady’s mantle
Lady’s Mantle
Alchemilla sp.
MeadowsweetFilipendula ulmaria
Meadow vetchlingLathyrus pratensis
Medick, blackMedicago lupulina
MilkmaidCardamine pratense
Mouse ear, commonCerastium fontanum
Orchid, common spotted
Spotted Orchid
Dactylorhiza fuchsii
Plantain, greaterPlantago major
Plantain, ribwortPlantago lanceolata
Ragged robin
Ragged Robin
Lychnis flos-cuculi
RaspberryRubus idaeus
Rose, dogRosa canina
Rose, hybrid downyRosa sp.
Rush, hardJuncus inflexus
Rush, softJuncus effusus
Rush, jointedJuncus articulatus
Potentilla anserina
Sorrel, commonRumex acetosa
Sowthistle, roughSonchus asper
Spearwort, lesserRanunculus flammula
Speedwell, germanderVeronica chamaedrys
Speedwell, heath
Heath Speedwell
Veronica officinalis
Speedwell, thyme leaved
Thyme-leaved Speedwell
Veronica serpyllifolia
StarwortCallitriche agg.
Stitchwort, bogStellaria uliginosa
Stitchwort, greaterStellaria holostea
Stitchwort, lesserStellaria graminea
St Johnswort,common or perforateHypericum perforatum
Strawberry, barrenPotentilla sterilis
Strawberry, wild
Wild Strawberry
Fragaria vesca
Thistle, marshCirsium palustre
Potentilla erecta
Valerian, commonValeriana officinalis
Valerian, marshValeriana dioica
Willowherb, greatEpilobium hirsutum
Willow herb, probably broad-leafedEpilobium sp.
Woundwort, hedgeStachys sylvatica
Yellow pimpernelLysimachia nemorum

Lady Fern Lady Fern spores There were several different ferns, including the delicate Lady Fern (part of a frond, left). This can be told from Male fern and the Buckler ferns by the comma-shaped spore masses on the underside of the leaves (right).

Plants (Leaves only, Ferns and Horsetails)
Cinquefoil, creepingPotentilla reptans
ColtsfootTussilago farfara
Dogs mercuryMercurialis perennis
Garlic or RamsonsAllium ursinum
Heather or LingCalluna vulgaris
IvyHedera helix
Lady’s bedstrawGalium verum
Lords and ladiesArum maculatum
NettleUrtica dioica
Ragwort, commonSenecio jacobea
RosebayChamaenerion angustifolium
Thistle, creepingCirsium arvense
Violet, probably dogViola sp.
Wood sageTeucrium scorodonia
Wood sorrelOxalis acetosella
BrackenPteridium aquilinum
Broad Buckler FernDryopteris dilatata
Lady FernAthyrium filix-femina
Male FernDryopteris filix-mas
Field Horsetail (?)Equisetum arvense
Marsh HorsetailEquisetum palustre
Wood HorsetailEquisetum sylvaticum
Grasses and Sedges
CocksfootDactylis glomerata
Crested DogstailCynosurus cristatus
FescueFestuca sp.
Hair Grass, TuftedDeschampsia caespitosa
Meadow Grass, RoughPoa trivialis
Meadow Grass, SmoothPoa pratensis
Oat, FalseArrhenatherum elatius
Quaking GrassBriza media
Rye grassLolium sp.
Sweet Vernal GrassAnthoxanthum odoratum
TimothyPhleum pratense
Yorkshire FogHolcus lanatus

Sedge, GlaucousCarex flacca
Sedge, HairyCarex hirta
Sedge, RemoteCarex remota

There is a wide variety of trees in the woodland, much of it planted. Many of the species are introductions (including all the conifers except Scots Pine). Two of the most interesting specimens we saw are a Robinia and a conifer which was possibly a Cryptomeria but some members thought it was a Sequoiadendron.

Trees and Shrubs
“Acacia”Robinia pseudoacacia
AlderAlnus glutinosa
AshFraxinus excelsior
BlackthornPrunus spinosa
Birch (Silver)Betula pendula
CherryPrunus avium
Crab AppleMalus sylvestris
?CryptomeriaCryptomeria japonica
Eared WillowSalix aurita
ElderSambucus nigra
Field MapleAcer campestre
?Giant SequoiaSequoiadendron giganteum
Guelder RoseViburnum opulus
HawthornCrataegus monogyna
HazelCorylus avellana
Hemlock (Western)Tsuga heterophylla
LarchLarix sp.
OakQuercus sp.
RowanSorbus aucuparia
Scots PinePinus sylvestris
Silver FirAbies alba
Spruce, NorwayPicea abies
Spruce, SitkaPicea sitchensis
SycamoreAcer pseudoplatanus
Western Red CedarThuja plicata
Willows (several)Salix spp.
Wych ElmUlmus glabra


cardinal beetle blue damselfly
We did not identify many insects, but we did see a blue damsel-fly (right), a white butterfly (?large white) and a spectacular cardinal beetle Pyrochroa coccinea, which flew across the path and then posed for us on a grass stalk (left).

All photos © copyright 1999 Gill & Adrian Smith

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© Ryedale Natural History Society 1999
Page last modified 18th June 1999