About the Wolds and Riverbank Countryside Society


The Wolds and Riverbank Countryside Society is dedicated to the natural and human history of the area referred to in its name. Our meetings and activities are designed to interest and inform, and to preserve, protect and improve local habitats.  During the Autumn and Winter months our programme consists mostly of illustrated talks by visiting speakers at the Welton Memorial Hall, and in the Spring and Summer mostly of outside meeting

We also own an area of woodland and meadow next to the Ioniansí rugby ground, which is dedicated as a nature reserve and local amenity.

All talks and the Christmas Quiz are held at the Welton Memorial Hall starting at 7.30pm.  Talks take place on Wednesday evenings, but the Christmas Party/Quiz will take place on a Friday evening.  Drinks and biscuits are served during the intervals for whatever you want to pay.  During the interval of each evening talk, a raffle is held to raise society funds, and donations of prizes for the raffles are always appreciated.


We are always delighted to welcome new members, but at our evening talks non-members are welcome, too, for an entry payment of £2, with non-member children free.


Annual Photographic Competition

Wednesday 15th November 2017

Click on image for larger pictures



Richardís Nature Notes:  November 2017


In recent weeks it has been inspiring to hear and see the large skeins of Pink-footed Geese passing overhead as they commute to and from the Humber mudflats.  The migration routes of this winter visitor are being studied by a group from the University of Hull, using satellite tags, with the particular aim of investigating any interactions with E.ONís offshore wind farm.  At the end of October, there was an influx of Hawfinches into the UK; sightings from Yorkshire included some 50 or so birds near Castle Howard in early November.  This rather secretive large-billed finch likes to keep to the tree tops but will also feed on the ground.  Hornbeam seeds are a favourite food.  Earlier in the year there was evidence that Spoonbills had bred somewhere near the Humber for the first time since the 16th century, adults with fledged young having been seen at Alkborough.  However, on the negative side, it is disappointing that the latest RSPB Birdcrime report identifies North Yorkshire as the area in the UK with the highest number of confirmed illegal raptor persecutions (54) in the period 2012-2016.


During the summer there were reports of two species of interesting digger wasp in a low cliff on the Humber bank between Welton and North Ferriby: a Common Spiny Digger Wasp and a Bee Wolf.  I visited the site but could only identify a number of the former species, which are small and mainly black but with a noticeable black and white striped abdomen.  These wasps prey on flies, and females will carry them back to their burrows.  Just before entering the burrow the fly is impaled on the waspís sting.  The female collects several flies for each cell in her burrow, and when she has enough flies in a cell she lays eggs on the flies and then seals the cell.  I saw several females carrying flies back to their burrows.  I did not spot any Bee Wolves so named because they prey on worker Honey Bees.  (Note, this not the same insect as the Asian Hornet which also preys on Honey Bees).


Red-veined Darters, a migratory dragonfly from Southern Europe, were seen in September at a wetland site in Goole.  This created a good deal of interest amongst Yorkshire dragonfly watchers.  The presence of several young (teneral) individuals indicated that the species had bred at this site.  As no mature adults were apparently seen, it suggested that newly emerged darters quickly departed the area, perhaps making the migratory journey back to Southern Europe.


If you collect holly for Christmas decorations, you may notice that a few leaves have a small yellow-green blotch within which is a reddish-brown area.  There is a fascinating story to be told about these blotches.  They are likely to have been caused by the tiny larva of an Agromyzid fly burrowing through the leaf and feeding as it goes.  I have found quite a few examples of this leaf miner in local holly trees.  The inside of a prickly and leathery leaf might seem a safe place to live.  However, birds such as Blue Tits will peck the leaf to feed on the larva, leaving a characteristic V shaped tear in the leaf.  The fly larva can also be attacked by a parasitic wasp that lays a single egg inside the larva.  When the wasp egg hatches the wasp larva feeds on the fly larva.  A fly larva that manages to avoid these two attackers can fall victim as a pupa to another species of parasitic wasp.  If a winged adult eventually emerges from the leaf it does so through a small round emergence hole.


There are nearly 900 species of insects with leaf or stem mining larvae in Britain and Ireland.  These are mainly flies, moths and sawflies (a type of wasp).  There are a number of leaf mining pests of economic importance in the UK such as the cereal leaf mining fly.  One of the most well-known leaf miners is Horse Chestnut leaf-mining moth which was first noted in the UK in 2002 and is now commonly seen in our area.  Although it makes the leaves look unsightly, it is reported not to affect the heath of the tree.


On the subject of tree health, in my nature notes of May 2016 I mentioned that Ash Dieback disease had been found near Raywell.  Unfortunately, it is now well established in Brantingham Dale, where it is especially noticeable in younger trees.  One tree expert told me that Brantingham Dale is one of the worst affected areas that he has seen.





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 Last updated: Feb 2018












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