Nature

Seaton Ross is situated in the East Riding of Yorkshire.  The village is surrounded by fields and many residents have large gardens which are perfect for the local wildlife.

 - The Nature Plot

The village wildlife plot is located on Mill Lane and is available for anyone to use.  

Relax on one of the benches, admire the flowers and try and identify the animals that visit the plot. 

- Spotted (or is that lesser-spotted?)

Various animals live and visit the village and surrounding fields. Have you seen and identified something?  Then let us know and we can add the details (and any photographs) to the list of sightings below.

Need help with identification?

- Nature Notes

This is a regular column about our Seaton Ross nature, written by Gill Reid. 

"I live in West End and spend a lot of my time in the natural world.  I hope you find it interesting and informative. Any comments,questions etc are very welcome!"

May 2018

"I was away the first half of April, but on my return there was plenty of migrant bird activity. I came into the lovely warm days after, it seemed to have been, two weeks of rain, while I was away! The grass had grown well and so had the weeds! By the end of April there was a chiffchaff on territory calling away in my garden and it still is! Blackbirds and song thrushes were feeding young and these have now fledged. Second broods under way! I had a robin nesting in a rather thick but bedraggled passion flower plant near to my garage. They have now fledged and I have been able to clip off a lot of the dead stems on the passion flower. I have lost then in bad winters before but this was a strong plant and I think it will survive. There are swallows in the village now but I have yet to see house martins and swifts in the village. However over water bodies such as North Cave Wetlands and Top Hill Low, there are many sand martins, some house martins and quite a few swallows now. Swifts don't usually arrived until May but I have seen a few at Blacktoft Sands, recently.

I have heard a cuckoo in Allerthorpe woods and on Skipwith Common, but not in the village. Gone are the days when they came to the village and bred locally. It is three or four years since I had one in my garden. Walks in woodlands at the moment are full of bird song, Willow warblers, chiffchaff, Whitethroat and blackcaps. Their intricate songs sing out in many places. I have a blackcap singing in my garden. Early mornings are well worth the effort as there is so much to see and hear!

At Blacktoft sands for the fifth year running the rare female Montague's Harrier has returned. The first two years she had a mate and bred. He must have died and hasn't been seen for the last two years, she comes back to the same site waiting for a new mate. Hopefully this year her return will not be in vain.

Many spring flowers are out in bloom. Dandelions grace the verges along with cowslips and primroses in places. Bluebells are coming out now and looking good, soon the woods will be full of wild garlic and the lovely smell. Millington Woods are lovely for wild garlic very soon. Cow parsley is about to burst into flower along many verges and show off its intricate delicate umbels."

Gill Reid

February 2018

"Is spring on its way? With the snow flurries, cold temperatures and frosty mornings it seems very far fetched! However snowdrops are out in big numbers, some in Mill Lane were out at Christmas and are now “gone over”! I went to Burton Agnes yesterday and there are big carpets there in the beech woodland. The yellow flowers of aconites are out as well, again big carpets in places. Crocuses are starting to show and I have seen a few daffodils out, which is always lovely. Soon many many will be seem. The hazel catkins are in their full glory and if you look closely at the stem the red tufts of the female flowers are out.

Birds are starting to sing heralding spring. Many great tits are calling their “teacher teacher” call, also the similar but muffled coal tit call. I have had a song thrush singing in the early morning, but the cold recent temperatures have stopped it just now. I always seem to stop seeing song thrush in my garden in the winter, they go further south I think, but now are present again. Most years they bred. Birds of prey are starting to display as well. Kestrels, sparrowhawks as well as the goshawks in the North Yorkshire Forest.

I was at Top Hill Low reserve at the weekend. It is a Yorkshire water Reserve at Watton just south of Driffield. There are two big reservoirs which in the winter are visited by large numbers of water birds. Stunning black and white goldeneye ducks are displaying at the moment. The males extend their necks back along their backs and then stretch it upwards, all to impress the females! These ducks will pair up before going back to their breeding grounds, some in northern Scotland but most go to Scandinavia. Alot of the duck species are starting to pair up. It saves time when they get north as they can commence nest building straight away. At the moment on the D reservoir, is  an immature glaucous gull is visiting from Arctic areas. It is a lovely light chocolate brown all over with no black wing tips. It will not breed this year as the big gulls take 4 to 5 years to mature. This gull is not present all the time but often seen.  Feeds on local farmland and them comes on the reservoir to rest and wash.

At Bempton cliffs RSPB reserve the gannets are coming back to their nest sites, fulmers have been back at least a month. The guillemots are sometimes on the cliff ledges in their 1000s or not at all. Razorbills are around in small numbers but not on the cliffs much yet. The small puffins are still out feeding and living in the Ocean and will be back by end of March and into April!

Spring is coming and to be rejoiced!"

Gill Reid

December 2017

"Short days and freezing temperatures mean for most creatures that they have to find food and eat fast in the available time!  Bird feeders do help our birds and are most important for them. Seeds such as sunflower hearts are well packed with energy and readily available.  Fat balls are also high energy and some also have added fruits like raisons, cranberries, some with added peanuts etc, and some with added meal worms.  Again all good sources of energy! Please avoid the fat balls bounded by netting , mainly because the birds can get caught in the netting and damage their feet or worse.  Also the netting is usually plastic which needs to be a much less used item if that is possible.  It has to be if we want an ecologically sound environment!  Available fresh water is also needed for birds as well as other wildlife.  When its frozen please try to change for fresh water.  Luckily the temperatures have risen a bit now, which should help.

A little further away in the Lower Derwent Valley, many migrant waterfowl collect to feed and live for the winter.  The other morning I started at bank Island on the Wheldrake to Thorngaby road to view the flooded fields from the platform at Bank Island offices.  Still quite a lot of the field was frozen so I moved to the Yorkshire wildlife reserve of Wheldrake Ings.  A 10 minute muddy walk found me along the river Derwent and then into the Tower Hide.  Still some of the water was frozen but as luck would have it the open water was visible nicely from the hide.  Many duck, wigeon with their high pitched whistle, teal the males with a smart bow tie appearance at their rump, many splendid pintail duck, so elegant.  A few goldeneye ducks which are diving ducks, the males doing so display!  The main waders were Lapwing but others will return when the freeze settles away.  At the hide at North Duffield there is a decent flock of Whooper swans.  I counted 92, they come from mainly Iceland where they breed and spend the winters here.  A good number of this years young so it looked like an a decent breeding season!  I saw quite a few pied wagtails moving around feeding.  I wonder if these roost in Parliament Square in York, as quite a few hundred do in the trees.  Warmer than the countryside and probably safer too. Look into the trees if you are in York at night!!"

Gill Reid

November 2017

"Autumn is here but it has been a mild start.  Red Admiral butterflies were still flying in the first week of November. Usually we would have had a frost to cool things down a touch. Red Admirals can over winter as adults in leaf litter and wee holes, but they generally only survive in milder winters, more commonly in southern Britain. They are mainly migrant butterflies coming from Central Europe. The leaves seem to be taking a long time to fall this year, in fact some still changing colour.  The grass is only just slowing down its growth.

My garden has a lot of blackbirds in it, many of these will be migrants coming in across the North Sea from Scandinavia. They come in with other thrushes, Redwings, Fieldfares and song thrushes.  I have been at Spurn and Flamborough recently and seem many working their way inland along the hedges. These birds feed on berries, cotoneaster, rowan and hawthorn, which are essential for them! Please remember this when cutting hedges!!  They are also partial to fallen apples, so please leave them too!

My bird feeders are now being emptied daily by goldfinches, greenfinches, chaffinches, also the tits, great, blue and coal tits.  Dunnocks sweep the floor of fallen seed as do wood pigeons. A lot of birds depend on the food we provide for them, you could be rewarded by the sight of more rare birds such as a Brambling or Siskin!

I have Tawny Owls in my garden, they are starting to settle down now, not so much noise, as they have seen off this year's young, so my pair will be on territory for next year.

Pink-feet Geese can be heard  going over Seaton Ross, the other day I was in the wolds watching 5000 or more feeding in a stubble field, such a splendid sight and noise, it was like being in the north of Scotland!"

Gill Reid

- Sightings by residents

Dave Raffaelli, Ashlands, October 2017

"Here is a list of the birds I’ve noted over the years whilst walking our dogs around Seaton Ross.

Our usual route is one which will be familiar to many: from our house near the church, down Carr Lane, turn right at the bottom to the large oak tree, right again along the headland to the stile, then right again to the Hollies and the church, a modest distance of 1.8 km.  But at two walks a day for 16 years, that amounts to around 20,000 km!

I’m sure the list isn’t complete and that many of you will have seen other species.  Friends have seen, a Great Grey Shrike (on telegraph wires) and a Kingfisher (at the Tow Pits), and I was once asked to remove a Wryneck from a fruit cage near the Hollies!

So, keep your eyes peeled, you never know what might turn up."

Cormorant

Grey Heron

Little Egret

Mute Swan

Greylag Goose

Canada Goose

Mallard

Red Kite

Sparrowhawk

Buzzard

Peregrine

Kestrel

Pheasant

Partridge

Red-legged partridge

Moorhen

Oystercatcher

Golden Plover

Lapwing

Curlew

Snipe

Black-headed Gull

Herring Gull

Common Gull

Stock Dove

Wood Pigeon

Collard Dove

Cuckoo

Barn Owl

Little Owl

Tawny Owl

Swift

Green Woodpecker

Great Spotted Woodpecker

Skylark

Swallow

House Martin

Pied Wagtail

Yellow Wagtail

Hedgesparrow

Whitethroat

Blackcap

Willow Warbler

Chiffchaff

Goldcrest

Wheatear

Robin

Blackbird

Fieldfare

Redwing

Song Thrush

Mistle Thrush

Long-tailed Tit

Coal Tit

Great Tit

Blue Tit

Marsh Tit

Treecreeper

Wren

Corn Bunting

Yellowhammer

Reed Bunting

Brambling

Chaffinch

Goldfinch

Siskin

Bullfinch

Greenfinch

Redpoll

Linnet

Tree Sparrow

House Sparrow

Starling

Jay

Magpie

Rook

Carrion Crow

Jackdaw

- Sightings by residents

Cath (website editor) garden located near the centre of the Village.

"We have lived in Seaton Ross since 2005, having moved into a house with just a bare patch of soil and lots of uneven scrubby grass.  Over the years we have created a garden designed to attract wildlife -  from insects and birds, visiting mammals and now 'weird things' in our wildlife pond.

We have been continuously feeding the birds for many years and as a result we have had 33 different species visit our garden!  Other memorable sightings in the garden include watching damselflies catching flying ants mid-flight and being 'ran over' by a hedgehog late one night when I was trying to take a photograph of the moon.

Below is a list of wildlife we have seen in our garden, or very close by (within about 1/2 mile).  The photographs were taken by me in the garden."

Mammals
  • Brown rat
  • Field Vole
  • Fox
  • Grey squirrel
  • Hares
  • Hedgehog
  • Mice (probably Wood mice)
  • Rabbits
  • Roe deer
  • Stoat
Insects
  • Bees (various species)
  • Damson flies
  • Dragonflies
Birds
  • Barn Owl
  • Blackbird
  • Blue Tit
  • Bull Finch
  • Buzzard
  • Chaffinch
  • Chiff Chaff
  • Coal Tit
  • Collared Dove
  • Cuckoo (heard but not seen)
  • Dunnock
  • Field Fare
  • Goldcrest
  • Gold Finch
  • Great Tit
  • Green Woodpecker
  • Green Finch
  • Grey Heron
  • Jackdaw
  • Jay
  • Kestrel
  • Greater-Spotted Woodpecker
  • Long-Tailed Tit
  • Magpie
  • Marsh Tit
  • Mistle Thrush
  • Moor Hen
  • Partridge
  • Pheasant
  • Red Kite
  • Rock Dove
  • Robin
  • Rook
  • Sparrowhawk
  • Swift
  • Tawny Owl
  • Tree Sparrow
  • Willow Warbler
  • Woodpigeon
  • Wren
  • Yellow Hammer
Butterflies
  • 'Cabbage Whites' (not able to identify individual species)
  • Large Tortoiseshell
  • Peacock
  • Red Admiral
  • Ringlet
  • Small Tortoiseshell
  • Speckled Wood
Amphibians
  • Common toad
  • Frogs (not sure of species)
  • Great Crested newts
  • Smooth newts