OPAL scientist's blog

Guest Blog: Sun and Fun in Wakefield

Hi, my name is Kevin Rich and I'm one of two OPAL MSc students working on the fabulous sites of Upton and Fitzwilliam Country Parks in Wakefield. I'll be posting here over the next year to keep you up-to-date with our projects.

Last week, I had a great day wandering round these wildlife havens looking for Butterflies with Dr Terry Crawford. We discovered a field full of pupating Burnet Moth caterpillars. I took this photograph which shows the caterpillar before (left) and during the pupating stage (right).

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A bird that sounds like rocks, and more...

Last Wednesday it felt more like December than May, but a group of 10 people braved the icy wind and we went for a walk along the Pocklington Canal, East Yorkshire, for an OPAL course called "Look Listen and Learn". This course was led by bird expert John Wint from the Yorkshire Naturalists Union and he made sure that we did lots of listening, looking and learning. My favourite part of the course was hearing a sedge warbler.

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Ever wanted to know what type of moth, snail, plant, bird, insect....that is?

Hopefully the training courses I'm organising at venues across Yorkshire and the Humber this summer will help you to identify the plants and animals that live in your local area. The courses are most suited to beginners, i.e. people who have had little or no experience identifying species.

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Oak marbles

On a walk round the old Upton Colliery site near Wakefield last week we saw a little oak tree covered in masses of oak marbles, a type of gall. I'd never seen a tree with so many on it before, so I thought I'd share this photo with you....Oak Marbles

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Sea hare from Scarborough

Yesterday I saw something I'd never seen before: a sea hare. Adrian Norris from the Yorkshire Naturalists Union found it whilst running a marine mollusc course with Paula from Seasearch NE (an organisation for divers who record the marine species they see). Sea hares are marine molluscs and get their name from their rounded shape and from the "rhinophores" (sticking up bits near the front of the animal), that are said to look a bit like hares ears. What do you think?

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