Report on the Friends of Rawcliffe Meadows Work Party 19th March 2017

Dealing with the hedge between the Cornfield and the Country Park has becoming something of annual pilgrimage, especially after we have had to fill in the gap created by the installation  of the new sewer. Fortunately Yorkshire Water generously paid for the plants in 2015 and we have used this to provide the infill plants in 2016 and 2017. We have also had to weed in-between plants in the hedge each year to ensure that they don’t get over-powered by the grasses and weeds.

In the past we have added quite a lot of gorse which has finally started to establish, so this year we added some larger holly, along with more hazel and hawthorn. The entire length of the hedge has become popular with  overwintering birds and has the potential to provide food and shelter for large flocks. the next step might be to consider cutting back some of the plants in the hedge before they become trees, along with cutting back some of the ash and blackthorn spreading into the field.

In addition, we planted some hazel and hawthorn in the bottom north-eastern corner at the boundary with the Copse to hopefully discourage anybody taking a short cut over the wire fence, as the hawthorn on the other side has struggled.

In addition we also took some red deadnettle and other early flowering plants over to the bee bank to provide any bees or wasps with a food source near to the bank.

Thanks again to Pete, Julie and Mark, and Mark T for their assistance, and also Leilah of Dragon Willow for the chocolate!

The next work party is on Sunday 9th April from 10:30 and was down for clearing flood debris, however given that the winter has been kind to us this will change and will probably become one of tansy planting and managing the New Meadow.

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Water Bug ID Training 26th April 2017 Rawcliffe Meadows

Water bugs are a diverse group of aquatic insects including water scorpions, pond skaters, water measurers, water crickets, backswimmers and lesser water-boatmen. They play important roles in the ecology of lakes and ponds and are useful indicators of habitat diversity. After water beetles, bugs are one of the most diverse groups of invertebrates found during pond-netting surveys of still waters.

There are 66 regularly-occurring British species, 54 of which can be found in Yorkshire. Many of these are quite distinctive and all can be keyed-out using a hand lens or low power microscope. This makes water bugs an accessible group for anyone wanting to hone their skills in identifying aquatic invertebrates beyond family level.

Places are limited, so let know as soon as you can, if you’d like to attend.

170426 Water Bug Training N.YORKS

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First Tansy Beetle of 2017

The first Tansy Beetle of 2017 at Rawcliffe Meadows was spotted on the northern-most mound near the Pond. The plants there are doing well compared with those on the southern mound and adjacent areas, although the ones planted by volunteers in Spring 2016 along the Ings Dyke near the bridge to Clifton Ings are doing well, also.

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Friends of Rawcliffe Meadows Work Party 19th March 2017 from 10:30

Still keeping to the higher and drier ground we’ll be in the Cornfield again, weeding the shrubs in the hedge line with the Country Park, along with planting more hazel, holly and hawthorn. So meet at the Cornfield gate at the north of the site by the Allotment path.

There’ll be chocolate courtesy of Leilah Vyner of Dragon Willow – – who collected some of the willow we coppiced around the Pond. So be there and ruin your Sunday lunch!

It’s March so in a few weeks we can expect the Tansy Beetles back with us again. I did check the Pond area today and nothing yet…

The other planned dates are as follows:

Month Sun Thurs Task
March 2017 19 Check saplings in Cornfield/Country Park hedge and weed around and interplant with more hazel
April 2017 9 Flood debris/brash clearance
May 2017 7 ?
In addition:
Erect remaining Barn Owl box + relocate Stock Dove box
Clear flood debris as required
Erect Tree Sparrow boxes in RB













Sunday work parties from 10:30 am until about 13:00pm.


In May we’ll move to Thursday evenings meeting at 18:30 onwards.

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The Grand Rawcliffe Bee Bank Hotel

Back in 2015 the first steps began in constructing a ‘bee bank’ on Rawcliffe Meadows arable field, this was massively extended in 2016 thanks to Buglife’s Urban Buzz project as reported here and here. With one of the work parties at the end of 2016 having produced some nice sycamore logs it was decided to add another wing to the ‘bee bank’ creating a real pollinator hotel.


For the work party of 26th February the group of Mark T, Pete and Jason, Judi and Mick gathered at the ‘bee bank’ with the logs. Some turf was lifted to the left of the existing bank and the logs put into position. Additional soil was added to pack out the pile and the turf replaced. At the same time some more pollinator plants were added around the bank, and the pond liner at the base was stabilized with some stones. An electric drill with a range of bit sizes was employed to add some holes to the logs, making it easy for new residents to move into their rooms.

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The Water Beetles of Yorkshire: an atlas


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.The water beetles of Yorkshire: an atlas

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.Elmis aenea: the most widespread riffle beetle in Yorkshire

The water beetles of Yorkshire by Martin Hammond

324 A5 pages, spiral bound

Published by Yorkshire & Humber Ecological Data Trust

Available for £6 + £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

Water Beetles of Yorkshire Leaflet

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Nigel Stewart’s Clifton Birding Update January 2017 Covering Rawcliffe Meadows


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