NB This is a private site with no public access and permission is required from the land owner to survey
Recorders: Ian Popely Distance = 1000m Altitude 190m Walk Time 1 hour
This is a long-disused limestone quarry near Silpho. It was once wel known as a Duke of burgundy site but has noot been recorded here for many yearsThe track down to is interesting, with many wildflowers in the verges, including meadow cranesbill , knapweed , field scabiou and greater bellflower. The quarry floor was like a garden with a fantastic display of late summer flowers, including the delicate lesser scabious in huge numbers.
The site has been scrubbing over for some years to the point it was not only degrading fast but getting difficult to walk the long established transect. With the co-operation of Carstairs who now manage the site Butterfly Conservation , Ryedale and Scarborough Nats and many other volunteers the scrub has been cleared and stumps treated to prevent regowth and the transect route fully restored. It wil be very interesting to see how the species fare from now on and the huge amount of work is expected to yield rewards and , maybe, one day, the return of the Duke.
S1 hedgerow leads down to te site entrance and the gully is damp and yoelds very lareg numbers of Green-viened white Lareg and small Whites, ringlets Peacock and other vannesids but alos Wall brown. S2 is a smal meadow just above the site and yoelds a typical grassland species in fair numbers and Large Skippers.
S3 takes us to teh xcentre of te hsite with mor edap shade loving grassland species
S4 is a branch to the westeren edge of teh reserve and the steep descent into teh valley below but is scrubbed over and yields mostly speckled woods
S5 in the centre of the site
S6 takes us into agrassy sheltered gully with a profusion of grassalnd species and favoured by Marbled whites
S7-S8 takes us from teh far south of teh site upwards to teh western half with more marbled whites large skipper.
S9-10 are favoured by the skippers and Ringlets
Results are well up on last year which is encouraging but also we see the return of the Small Heath and Marbled White really beginning to strengthen and Dingy Skipper was well up bucking the county trend. The site's history is of slow deteriation with scrub cover over calcareous grassland so we have seen to some extent Speckled Woods replacing meadow browns and Ringlets. Despite this longer term we stil see a small increase in numbers
This year see orange tips and Smal whites having abetter year Large and Green-viened White having a bad year which is rather similar to elsewhere. Small Copper was a bit down but rather random but it is better than zero last year. brown argus had a good year or at least the migratory form on cransesbill did while the rockrose on limestone suffered in the drought . All teh vanessids are down but particularly peacock with only 1 seen after mid May it is difficult to believe that in 2014 there was a total count of near 300 . Tortoiseshell did a bit better here than most localities but only 2 were seen after the beginning of July. All teh browns except Ringlet saw a increase with marbled white in particular increasing on last years boom. Speckled wood tripled on last year in line with many locations but not enough to put it above the 5 year average.
Silver-washed Fritillary and Dark-green Fritillary are occasional vistirors to this site
A poorer year than of late and slightly down on elesewhere there are soem trends to pick out. The skippers are much less numerous as ere Small White which is prety much liek elsewhere Green Viened White loved our wet summer and was up as was orange Tip in line with most transects Holy Blue and Brimstone wer eabsent. Smal Copper and Common Blue alo s down as with other sites. Vanessids were wel down apart form tortoiseshell which were up again all inline wioth other sites Comma had a disaster as it du=id elesewhere. marbled white boomed as they did on virtually all sites but Speckled woods were down Silver washed fritillary and Small Heath were seen for the first time and Wall reappeared all had good years elesewhere.