Recorders: Nick ballard & Sean Clough Distance= 1100m Walk time= 30mins
Priory Fields meadows sit on the edge of the City of Hull. The proximity to the city has allowed it to escape conversion to arable. The fields support a range of flowering plants that are rare within the city of Hull and even the wider area of the East Riding of Yorkshire including a good deal of Meadow Rue. Primary habitat is wet or marshy Grasslands surrounded by mature headgerows. It is maintained by an anuual hay cut. In a good year like 2013 butterflies can abound.
The meadows are at their best in S4 and S5 and a lesser extent S1. S5 is a favourite for Common Blue, Brown Argus, Small Copper, Meadow Browns and Gatekepers. The Marbled White was seen in S4. Large Skipper favours S5
2021 Long term Review
Like some other wet grassland sites there can be considerable variations in counts over the 14 years but overall the trend is slightly upwards at about 5% per decade mostly due to slight increases in Meadow Brown and Ringlet who's ups and downs dominate the annual totals. Other species show a small decline such as Small Skipper and Large Skipper down alot. Most species show the 2013 and 2019 peaks and the duldrums of 2009 and 2011 period reflecting wider countryside trends at this time.
As in the Vale of York it has seen dispersing Marbled Whites in the recent boom years 2020-22.
Wall disaapeared at the same time as most areas in 2007-8 very wet summers.
Total count in 2021 was high 22% above the 5 year average and close to teh 2019 exceptionally good year which is against the trend of other transects being mostly down at least a few percent. The reason is mostly a very high count of Meadow Brown. It far from all good news as with other transects the skippers were well down as were the cabbage whites Small Copper and Common Blue. The Vanessids were all down apart from Small Tortoiseshell which continues to boom on nearly all transects. Also reflecting other transects Gatekeeper and Orange Tip are up. It was great that Marbled White visited again but they are also had a good year on the wolds.
Highlight of the year was sighting of a Marbled White. However numbers of other species were well down this year in particular Common Blue, Brown Argus, Small Copper but particularly Holy Blue. The skippers also suffered and we might guess this all relates to last year heat and this years drought. Ringlet was also down which has been a pattern this year. However the Vannesids were definately up particularly Small Tortoiseshells and the migrant Red Admiral and Large White showed very well.