For the All Our Stories project we are looking at the natural, geological and cultural history of the Park. Joanna Brooks is running the ecological project and in May asked Andrew Grayson, an experienced entomologist, and member of the Yorkshire Naturalist Union, to survey the park for invertebrates.
Andrew came along on 22nd May 2013, and surveyed the Park between 12.25 and 14.40, on a dryish but slightly breezy day, with temperatures varying between 12°C and 16°C. The weather at the start was not ideal for insects, but a little later, the afternoon sun came out, bringing things to life. The average height above sea-level of the survey was 160m or 525ft. (To put that in perspective the top of Ilkley moor is 402m or 1,319 ft, and the top of The Chevin is 282m or 925 ft.)
Andrew, first did a tour of the park to find the best areas to concentrate his survey. He then spent a few hours collecting samples with his surveying equipment for later critical identification under a microscope. He also took a note of conspicuous invertebrates eg butterflies.
Andrew’s description of the Park, pointed out its mixture of grassland, woodland, and dense monoculture scrub patches of Bramble [Rubus fruticosus], Common Nettle [Urtica dioica] and Rose-bay Willow-herb [Epilobium angustifolium]: he reports “The grassland was dominated by coarse grasses, but the steeper slope towards the centre of the survey area was dominated by fine grasses, and the grasses of the lower wetter area were more typical of areas where drainage is impeded. On the day of the survey, there were relatively few flowers intermixed in the dense – grasslands. Most of the flowers were in the wooded areas, and along the north-eastern margin of the site. The dominant flowers on the day of the survey were Dandelion [Taraxacum officinale] on the grassland, and Bluebell [Hyacinthoides non-scripta] in the open woodland. Other flowers included forget-me-nots [Myosotis], buttercups [Ranunculus] and Primrose [Primula vulgaris].”
Overall, his summary regarding invertebrates was that Parkinson’s Park, “is currently a very worthwhile site for invertebrates …….It principally provides habitat for grassland species, and the more abundant invertebrate fauna which typically occurs along woodland margins and within open woodland. ……….. It has a good diversity of invertebrates, but in terms of quality: the brief survey produced an unremarkable list of 48 species, most of which are common and widespread in Britain, and it is unlikely that Parkinson’s Park contains any invertebrates which are of any national conservation importance, such as those which are currently statutorily protected.”
Andrew’s table of results from his survey is below (click on to enlarge), it is just amazing just how many different types of dance and hoverfly there are – and Andrew sexed them too!! He also found 5 types of bees, including queens from 3 different species: and 7 types of butterfly:-