The Hull Natural History Society

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News 2022

Muntjac deer, Muntiacus reevesi

Muntjack deer This species is spreading northwards in the UK, and is one of just eight non-native animal species to which the following UK legislation applies: The Invasive Alien Species (Enforcement and Permitting) Order 2019.

Recently, I have been made aware of two reports of Muntjac deer close to South Cave and Brantingham. One was seen at the beginning of April by an experienced deer watcher, who also had been told of a local road kill about six months ago. Interestingly, there are other records of Muntjac in the Brough - Market Weighton area: in Brough (2022) during a night-time bird survey, near HM Prison Humber (2013), at North Cliffe (including an animal shot in 2014) and on a farm near Shiptonthorpe (2018). These details are based on information from Dan Lombard, NBN Atlas and iRecord. Other VC 61 locations include Weel (2015), near Warter (2021) and near Sledmere (2007). For the national distribution of Muntjac, see the results of the British Deer Society survey in 2016 . A useful ID guide to the species can be found on the GB Non-native Species Secretariat (NNSS) website.

Richard Shillaker, 20 April 2022
Photograph (not taken locally) by Chris Manning

Stone Creek, 26 March

View over the Humber with Short-eared Owl and Common Seals A sunny, mild day with barely a breeze, we visit Stone Creek, a small, sheltered creek off the Humber, where several main drains enter the estuary. The tide is low and we walk west to have the sun on our backs. We spot several Meadow Pipits, Reed Buntings and Yellowhammers, but it is quiet bird-wise. We return via the road and before leaving, we try to find some lizards on the flood bank. Instead, we see a Short-eared Owl, and while watching it we spot seven Common Seals. It is a fitting end to the day to end up watching the seals, perched on the edge of the creek, with the Short-eared Owl flying above them.

Africa Gómez, 27 March 2022

Hair Ice

Hair Ice I was lucky enough to spot this 'Hair Ice' on a rotting branch at Beggar’s Bridge in Glaisdale in December.

It's an uncommon sight because of the specific conditions under which it forms. First, it only occurs on rotting wood hosting the thin jelly fungus Exidiopsis effusa. Second, it needs specific conditions of environment and weather: a damp place where the temperature has suddenly dropped to just under 0° C.

Alfred Wegener first proposed the connection between Hair Ice and fungus in 1918 but it took a century for a group of German scientists to study the process in detail, involving 'ice segregation' on the wood surface, whereby traces of lignin and tannin, released during fungal decomposition, are sucked into the ice crystals. Hair Ice can grow up to 20 cm and form spectacular 'tresses'. Mine was a more modest example of around 5 cm, but still an exciting find.

Helen Kitson, 1 January 2022

Messingham, 24th April

Brimstone, Springbeauty, Marsh Violet Eight members enjoyed a very sunny day at Messingham, last visited in 2014. Although only late April, there were plenty of flowers, including Meadow Saxifrage, Springbeauty, Cowslips and Marsh Marigolds and one or two Marsh Violets. Most of the warblers had returned with Blackcap, Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff and Reed Warbler making themselves heard, occasionally being drowned out by Cetti’s Warbler. Sand Martins and Swallows were also seen. A small group of Avocets and a few Common Terns were the highlight amongst a range of the usual water birds. The sunshine also brought out eight species of butterfly.

Photographs -

Andrew Chadwick, 25 April 2022
Photographs by Helen Kitson

Siskin, Waters' Edge Country Park


Africa Gómez, 22 January 2022

BSBI New Year Plant Hunt (1)

Hull. On New Year’s Day I started a solo plant hunt on Princes Avenue, where the neglected flowerbeds were surprisingly productive. Thereafter I combed the pavements, terraces and tenfoots off Newland Avenue, for the usual urban mix mix of waste ground species, common wildflowers and the more frequent garden escapees. Sculcoates was a disappointment as the Council have recently fenced and paved the small terraces – not a weed in sight! - but Mexican Fleabane was still there high up on a factory wall. The biggest surprise was by the river at industrial Wincolmlee where Cornflower, Fiddleneck, Field Pansy and an "improved" arable Red Clover (var. sativa) were in full bloom, escapees from a wildflower mix persisting as roadside casuals. Total 49.

Hessle on 3rd January with John Killingbeck, was fairly deserted. Sainsbury’s car park, Priory Park and Ride and the grassy slopes surrounding the motor car franchises, all close together, in a very short time yielded well over 50 species, notably Narrow-leaved Ragwort, Gorse, Black Medick, Cornsalad, Catsear, Pellitory-of-the-Wall, Hedge Bindweed, Red Campion. Urban Hessle, including the churchyard, was disappointing. Total 57.

Gabrielle Jarvis, 10 January 2022

Sinnington, 14 May
with Ryedale Natural History Society

Montage of willd flower pictures Twelve of us set off from the green on a fine sunny day to explore the steep wooded valley east of the river as far as Appleton Mill. Our path climbed a hollow way, then descended steeply through ancient woodland and meadows down to the river. We encountered a variety of habitats; the underlying rock is mainly limestone with a rich calcicole flora but there is also some sandstone, allowing acid-tolerant plants like Wood-sorrel to flourish. Below the level of the Bluebells, Ramsons was the dominant species right on to the river bank.

Botanical finds included Toothwort, Goldilocks Buttercup, Hard Shield-fern, Hard-fern, Early-purple Orchid, False Oxlip and Sanicle. But the real rarities, Stone Bramble, Mountain Melick and Lily-of-the-valley were found only at the lowest level of the wood.

Plenty of insects were recorded, perhaps the most notable being the Hairy-footed Flower Bee and its kleptoparasite the Mourning Bee. Swifts screamed high overhead and a Grey Wagtail was seen by the river.

Photographs -
  1. Toothwort
  2. Stone Bramble
  3. Mountain Melick
  4. Lily-of-the-valley

Gabrielle Jarvis and Gill Smith, 23 May 2022
Photographs by Helen Kitson

BSBI New Year Plant Hunt (2)

Balkan Spurge Also on January 3rd another group of four members had a pleasant wander around the Grovehill Road / Beverley Beck area, exploring as many interesting alleys and passages as possible. Despite our efforts the final total was only 31. The most unusual find was Balkan Spurge (Euphorbia oblongata) (see above photo), naturalised on waste ground. This was accepted as a new BSBI vice-county record.

Andrew Chadwick, 10 January 2022