Archive for February, 2017

Birds & beetles: updates on research @Thorne & Hatfield Moors

February 21, 2017

We recently posted advance notification about the Forum’s Annual Meeting on Friday 31 March 2017.  We are delighted to provide the titles of the two talks by researchers currently working on Thorne & Hatfield Moors SSSI.

“Dynamic habitat selection of the European Nightjar from a Thorne & Hatfield Moors perspective”  Lucy Ryan (University of York).

“Gimme shelter: Role of refugia and impact of restoration on insect conservation on Thorne Moor”  Ashley Buchan (University of Edinburgh).

Lucy’s talk in 2016 was very well received and in no small part down to the enthusiastic and informative delivery by a researcher clearly passionate about her subject.  This year will see her providing us with an update on her research which will continue through the 2017 season and also involve the 2018 season.


Nightjar chicks: fantastically camouflaged and not easy to spot when they remain motionless to avoid predation.

Ashley is looking at invertebrates and the succession assemblages across a host of areas ranging from parts of Thorne Moors which saw peat extraction cease in the 1950s through to the early 2000s when the Government of the day bought out the extant planning permissions from Scotts (UK) Ltd for some £17.3m  Ashley’s work has involved looking at characteristic species of particular habitats and how these habitats change over time.  This work along with Lucy’s will hopefully inform management planning for these important sites.

The talks, which are scheduled to take place after the formal business (Forum members only), are open to the public but places do need to be booked, contact the to register an interest.  There is no charge for the talks but a donation in lieu for refreshments and light buffet lunch will be used towards the purchase of more research equipment (particularly the tags needed to track the nightjars activity).

Copies of the two recently produced faunas Checklist of the Lepidoptera of Thorne Moors 1837 – 2014 and The water beetles of Yorkshire will be available for purchase along with other Forum publications.


The water beetles of Yorkshire

February 16, 2017

The water beetles of Yorkshire

Martin Hammond is to be congratulated on the publication of this useful record of Yorkshire’s aquatic coleoptera.  The Executive are delighted to have been able to assist him in this endeavour.


There is a limited print run of this atlas available and we are able to offer a small number to blog readers, Forum associates and network.

Copies can be obtained locally (Thorne): please contact for details, or York by arrangement with NEYEDC (see contact details below).  Copies will also be made available at the Forum’s Annual  Meeting on Friday 31 March 2017 which is being held in Moorends, to reserve a copy contact 

The water beetles of Yorkshire

Water beetles are among the most diverse freshwater macro-invertebrates: in still waters, around half the species detected in a typical pond-net sample will be beetles. This makes these insects important to any understanding of wetland biodiversity.

Yorkshire has a particularly rich fauna of aquatic Coleoptera. Amongst the groups covered by this atlas, 78% of the British species were recorded in the County in 2000-2016. This reflects the unique biogeography of our region, straddling the divide between the northern and western uplands and the eastern lowlands. Saltmarshes, ponds, fens, bogs, upland tarns, rivers and springs all support their own distinctive assemblages. Numerous species reach the northern or southern limit of their English distribution in Yorkshire, so this atlas will provide a baseline to help monitor future changes. Forty-eight Yorkshire water beetles are categorised as Nationally Scarce, 17 as Near Threatened and eight as Vulnerable.

This atlas is based on an intensive survey of Watsonian Yorkshire producing just over 62,000 records for the period 2000-2016. Records are mapped for each of the 210 species at a tetrad (2 x 2 km square) resolution, providing a fine-grained picture of regional distribution.

In addition to the species accounts, there is a brief history of water beetle recording in Yorkshire, a review of Quaternary subfossils, advice on survey methods, a summary of additional species recorded in the 19th and 20th centuries, and a chapter on wetland habitats.

The water beetles of Yorkshire by Martin Hammond

324 A5 pages, spiral bound

Published by YHEDT Publishing

Available for £6.00 + £2.95 p&p per copy from:

North & East Yorkshire Ecological Data Centre

10a Minster Gates, York YO1 7HL (we can also offer collection in person from the NEYEDC office in York, by arrangement).

Tel: 01904 641631, E-mail:

Please make cheques payable to: Yorkshire & Humber Ecological Data Trust or email for information on payment by bank transfer.

Observations & advance notifications

February 7, 2017

It seems a long time, last year in fact when we last posted anything.  To regulars who missed us, sorry.  To newcomers or just casual browsers of blogs welcome and here are a few items of potential interest:


The first adder of the season has been seen, the second earliest record of the year since modern records have been compiled.  Three mature animals were seen on Friday 3 February basking in the sunshine, this after a couple of days of mild weather.  They were well hidden amongst the bracken and leaf litter and test the skills of the experienced naturalist to locate their likely location.   Will this be an early season or will inclement weather cause them to retreat underground again?  Image: Martin Warne.

Raptors have been showing well for those prepared to put in the hours and legwork, with some superb views to be had.


Peregrine (above) and Merlin (below) Images: Martin Warne


Advance notification of our Annual Meeting

Friday 31st March 2016 (Thorne)

Speakers include Lucy Ryan (York University) who enthused, enthralled and educated us last year with the initial findings from her tagging of Thorne & Hatfield Nightjars.  We are delighted that Lucy has agreed to come back and provide us with an update.

Further details to be confirmed include a second speaker, the venue and timings.

There is no charge for people who work with the Forum but donations would be most welcome and will be used to support the tagging and research being undertaken by Lucy (tags are expensive and thus far have only had a 50% recovery rate, which is actually considered pretty good).

Anyone interested in attending is asked to contact

Other events involving the Forum include:

Peatlands for Birds is another in the series of Wilder Visions Conferences organised by Dr Ian D Rotherham and his team.  6-8 September 2017, Sheffield.  More information is available by clicking here.

The Yorkshire Naturalist’s Union Annual Conference Yorkshire’s natural history societies – for naturalists, for nature, for the future is being held in York on Saturday 8 April 2017.  For more information including details of charges and booking form click here.  The Forum have been asked to present their work and involvement with the safeguarding of Inkle Moor as a case study, so come along and discover more about the hidden gem of a forgotten fen.

Those readers interested in butterflies and moths might like to consider purchasing a copy of Ron Moat’s magnus opus?  Available at £7.  176 pp including 42 colour plates of species recorded from Thorne Moors.  Copies can be purchased from the Thorne Times office in Thorne or contact about postal copies (postage charged at cost). Copies will also be available to purchase at the Annual Meeting (details above).


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