Duck Street Quarry

Privately owner reserve for Butterflies 


Recorders:   Georgie  Jones  &  Nigel Heptingstall                                    Distance:  931m         Area 6.5 acre      Altitude 391m                                  Walk Time: 30mins

This is the premier butterfly site on the edge of Nidderdale. It is a private site and permission is needed from an owner for access.  This is for safety reasons with the many cliff faces of the old quarry, rough terrain and many hazards present

It is an abandoned limestone quarry that is a Site of Special Scientific Interest for its geological features. It also has a rich limestone grassland flora.  Some years Dark Green Fritillary can be very common. 

This transect is teh highest in Yorkshire at nearly 400m and roughly teh same as Malham and Inglebrough transects.


The butterfly highlights are in Sections 1,  5 and 6 along the southern edge of the site  but no dark green fritillaeries were seen in 2022

2023  Results 

County wide 2023 results reflect  the 2022 and  2023 spring drought with Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock nearly halved for the second year against their 5 year average. Red Admiral arrived in force in July and took advantage of soft nettle growth of the rains and had their best year ever. Drought sensitive species on thin soils were badly hit,  particularly Dark -green Fritillary and Northern Brown Argus but also Ringlet, Green-viened White and Small Heath.  Less drought affected species along with the hottest June on record built even more on gains last year leading to Comma, Brimstone, Holly Blue and most Browns  having a fantastic year reaching all time highs. A increase of 9% overall was mostly due to sheer numbers of Meadow Browns and Gatekeepers ment 2023 nearly pipped 2014 as best year in modern times.  Most noticeable was the large differeces between mositure retaining mineral soils of the valleys and thin, dry limestone or sandy soils. A large number of damp grassland, hedgerow and woodland  dominated sites benefitted hugely with 3 sites seeing more than 50% increase . A smaller number of thin, chalky, sandy or craggy sites did badly some down up to 25%.

Although a bit short of data this year numbers look similar to last year  however there are significant gains and losses mostly inline with county trends.   Biggest losses were Common Blue,  Ringlet and Small heath  which are all in line with th count trends on dry sites and  illustrates that drought in last years extreme heat had a significant affect on species that dont cope so well. Increases in Meadow Brown,  that boomed county wide contrasts with Smal Tortoiseshells and Peacock whichrather than decrease showed signs of a strong recovery as they did throughout the dales.

Great also to see the Dark green Fritillary return which has had a pasting throughout its range due to drought, brings hope they might stay again. 

Transect reports

2022  Results 

Although the transect didnt start till mid May not much was missed. This is a very good site for Common Blue and is largely singel brooded although this year there was evidence on a very small second brood. Similarly Small heath is very common and teh most abundant species on the site which is good for a trheatened species, again only a single brood was in evidence.  Numbers of other species reflect teh county trends with whites  other than Smal lwhite not doing well in teh drought  whiel red admiral was up from teh number of thsi years migrants. Peacock you can suspect suffered very badly as elsewhere and Smal Tortoiseshell disappeared all togther after  early August which is exactly like elsewhere  no second brood and summer adults hibernated quickly and never ventured back out.  Great to see and Orange Tip flying at this altitude 

Will the fritillaries return?