Old Glebe YWT
Recorders: Jennie White and John Smith
A traditional hay meadow, Leyburn Old Glebe is the richest remaining fragment of Ellershaw, a district well-known to naturalists since the 19th Century. The meadow is rich in flowers in spring and summer supporting a range of orchids including the burnt tip orchid and the green winged orchid, makes it a very special place indeed and a rich variety of butterfly species. The banks and washlands of the river Ure favour plants like cuckoo flower and Devils bit scabious abound. It has one of the largest orange Tip counts anywhere! Dark green Fritillary appears most years and occasional Northern Brown Argus. Chimney sweeper moth is also common on Pignut.
Sections: Small Heath favours S5+S8 along with Meadow Browns. Orange Tip very much favours the side of the river Ure S7 and S8 along with Small Copper . Speckled Wood favour S2 and S8 while Common Blue favour S4-6. Comma favour S7 and Dark Green Fritillary S8 Some years the Browns prefer the main meadow of S5 rather than riverside S8 which may be a management difference.
Numbers are well down compared to the good year of 2019. 2019 was characterised by the Painted Lady invasion and numbers of Meadow Brown recorded doubled compared to normal however this years results are very close to average and not the disaster forecast by some. Both species have returned back to more normal levels but there is little signs of drought effects of the dry spring seen on other transects. However Green-viened White and Peacock numbers are also well down. In contrast Common Blue numbers which have colapsed on some transects showed a steady rise to good numbers . This could be because it is a damp site and the spring drought had a lesser effect. Small Heath is showing a steady rise in numbers these last few years and Small Tortoiseshells numbers have more than doubled and are again a common butterfly after a few years in the duldrums as on all transects. The skippers showed a good increase in contrast to some other dryer sites