Cusworth Hall – Wednesday,27th July 2020

 Leader: Catherine Palmer

Five members present who met at 7pm in the car park at SE544039 and walked through the park via the upper, middle and lower Lakes.


The Green-flowered Helleborine Epipactis phyllanthes, is deemed to be Nationally Scarce in Great Britain and in the north is regarded as “a very rare orchid” occurring at restricted sites along coastal dunes in Lancashire and Cumbria, at two adjacent sites on the Yorkshire Wolds and along the Permian Magnesian Limestone ridge through Yorkshire, Durham and Northumberland where it occurs on post- industrial sites.

The Cusworth Population

The plant was first discovered in Cusworth Park (SE5503) in 1975 by Dr John Hodgson of the Unit of Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield. This was in Grey Poplar Populus x canescens woodland on the north bank of the middle lake. It was again encountered here in July 1998 by Joyce Payne and CAH, three spikes were present in September 1999 and one in July 2000 but the site was destroyed by the removal of the woodland and re-engineering of the lake during the winter of 2003-04.

What is now known to be the main Cusworth colony, located in the narrow belt of damp riparian Grey Poplar woodland between the eastern side of the lower lake and the deep ring drain of the adjacent arable land, was first noticed in 1986 by Martin Limbert (of Doncaster Museum) and has been monitored here ever since by a succession of local botanists. This population is regarded to be far larger than other Yorkshire colonies (with a maximum count of 100 plants in 1999) and is comparable with the celebrated population at the Ainsdale NNR, Lancashire.

The situation in 2022

This year, owing to the driest spring and summer on record, there was no sign of the Helleborines in their usual areas along the shaded path along the east side of the lower lake. However, the survey met with  success as Catherine found a diminutive specimen growing from the dry earth over the drain from the basin pond and the team found a further seven healthy plants in a new area beside the path on the western side of the lower lake. These may have spread from a single large plant discovered by Ian Mcdonald and CAH of the Doncaster Nats in August 2004 at a new site near a venerable oak (now removed) on the western bank of the lower lake.

The Green-flowered Helleborine Epipactis phyllanthes was described New to Science in 1852 by the Rev. George Edwards Smith, who discovered it in Phyllis Wood, Westdean, West Sussex in 1838-39. Interestingly Rev. Smith served (1844-86) as curate of St Wilfred’s church Cantley and was an extremely active botanist during his period here. However, he does not appear to have been aware of any Epipactis species at Cusworth or elsewhere in southern Yorkshire.

More background information on the Cusworth population is available in The Naturalist (2015) 140: 48-56, a copy of which is in the Society archives.

Field notes recorded 27 July 2022 by CAH.

Cushworth Hall
Scientific Name Vernacular Name Location & Notes
Artemisia vulgaris Mugwort Upper Lake
Carex acutiformis Lesser Pond-sedge Upper Lake
Epilobium hirsutum Great Willowherb Upper Lake
Heracleum sphondylium Hogweed Upper Lake
Juncus inflexus Hard Rush Upper Lake
    Upper Lake
Lactuca serriola Prickly Lettuce Upper Lake
Lotus corniculatus Bird’s foot Trefoil Upper Lake
Lycopus europaeus Gypsywort Upper Lake
Pulicaria dysenterica Common Fleabane Upper Lake
Ranunculus repens Creeping Buttercup Upper Lake
Scrophularia auriculata Water Figwort Upper Lake
Stachys palustris Marsh Woundwort Upper Lake
Tussilago farfara Colt’s foot Upper Lake
Dactylis glomerata Cock’s-foot Grass Upper Lake
Holcus lanatus Yorkshire Fog Upper Lake
Arrhenatherum elatius False Oat-grass Upper Lake
Colutea arborescens  Bladder Senna Large fruiting bushes at bottom of steep path along east side of upper lawn
Acorus calamus Sweet Flag Middle Lake
Alchemilla sp Lady’s Mantle sp Middle Lake
Arrhenatherum elatius False Oat-grass Middle Lake
Dactylis glomerata Cock’s-foot Grass Middle Lake
Equisetum sp Horsetail sp Middle Lake
Glyceria maxima Reed Sweetgrass Middle Lake
Holcus lanatus Yorkshire Fog Middle Lake
Hosta sp. Hosta sp Large grey-green var. planted either side of the cascade from upper to middle lake. Plants in flower and with no signs of slug predation!
Juncus inflexus Hard Rush Middle Lake
Lotus corniculatus Bird’s foot Trefoil Middle Lake
Lycopus europaeus Gypsywort Middle Lake
Nymphaea alba White Waterlily Middle Lake
Odontites verna Red Bartsia Middle Lake
Pulicaria dysenterica Common Fleabane Middle Lake
Rhinanthus minor Yellow Rattle Middle Lake
Scrophularia auriculata Water Figwort Middle Lake
Trifolium repens White Clover Middle Lake
Typha latifolia Reed Mace Middle Lake
Acer campestre Field Maple Lower Lake
Acer pseudoplatanus Sycamore Lower Lake
Aesculus hippocastanum Horse-chestnut Lower Lake
Artemisia vulgaris Mugwort Lower Lake
Arum maculatum Arum Lower Lake
Brachypodium sylvaticum Wood False Brome Lower Lake
Cirsium arvense Creeping Thistle Lower Lake
Cirsium vulgare Spear Thistle Lower Lake
Corylus avellana Hazel Lower Lake
Crataegus monogyna Hawthorn Lower Lake
Dactylis glomerata Cock’s-foot Grass Lower Lake
Dipsacus fullonum Teasel Lower Lake
Epilobium hirsutum Great Willowherb Lower Lake
Epipactis phyllanthes Green-flowered Helleborine 1 small plant by Basin Pond and 7 by path on north side of lower lake
Equisetum sp Horsetail sp Lower Lake
Equisetum sp. hybrid Horsetail sp Lower Lake
Filipendula ulmaria Meadowsweet Lower Lake
Fagus sylvatica Beech Lower Lake
Fraxinus excelsior Ash Lower Lake
Geum urbanum Wood Avens Lower Lake
Glechoma hederacea Ground Ivy Lower Lake
Glyceria maxima Reed Sweetgrass Lower Lake
Hedera helix Ivy Lower Lake
Heracleum sphondylium Hogweed Lower Lake
Holcus lanatus Yorkshire Fog Lower Lake
Holcus mollis Creeping Soft-grass Lower Lake
Ilex aquifolium Holly Lower Lake
Juncus inflexus Hard Rush Lower Lake
Lemna minor Duckweed Lower Lake. In boundary drain.
Ligustrum vulgare Wild Privet Lower Lake
Lonicera periclymenum Honeysuckle Lower Lake
Mahonia aquifolium Oregon Grape Lower Lake
Melica uniflora Wood Melic Grass Lower Lake
Melilotus officinalis Ribbed Melilot Lower Lake
Mentha aquatica Water Mint Lower Lake
Mercurialis perennis Dog’s Mercury Lower Lake
Mycelis muralis Wall Lettuce Lower Lake
Nasturtium officinale Water Cress Lower Lake
Odontites verna Red Bartsia Lower Lake
Plantago lanceolata Lanceolate Plantain Lower Lake
Plantago major Broad Leaved Plantain Lower Lake
Populus nigra ‘Italica’ Lombardy Poplar Lower Lake
Populus × canescens Grey Poplar Lower Lake
Quercus robur Common Oak Lower Lake
Ranunculus repens Creeping Buttercup Lower Lake
Rosa canina Dog Rose Lower Lake
Rosa arvensis Field Rose Lower Lake
Rubus fruticosus Bramble Lower Lake
Salix fragilis Crack Willow Lower Lake
Salix viminalis Osier Lower Lake
Sambucus niger Elder Lower Lake
Senecio jacobaea Common Ragwort Lower Lake
Scrophularia auriculata Water Figwort Lower Lake
Silene dioica Red Campion Lower Lake
Stachys palustris Marsh Woundwort Lower Lake
Stachys sylvatica Hedge Woundwort Lower Lake
Solanum dulcamara Woody Nightshade Lower Lake
Symphoricarpos rivularis Snowberry Lower Lake. Dense shrubberies at the north end of the lake.
Tamus communis Black Bryony Lower Lake
Taxus baccata Yew Lower Lake (many seedlings)
Tussilago farfara Colt’s foot Lower Lake
Ulmus glabra Wych Elm Lower Lake
Urtica dioica Stinging Nettle Lower Lake
Viburnum opulus Guelder Rose Lower Lake
Alisma plantago-aquatica Water Plantain Basin Pond (11 plants)
Mentha aquatica Water Mint Basin Pond
Mercurialis perennis Dog’s Mercury Basin Pond
Solanum dulcamara Woody Nightshade Basin Pond
Laetiporus sulphureus Colony of Sulphur Bracket fungus on fallen dead tree trunk Lower lake [amazingly bright ‘day-glow’ yellow]
BIRDS (Upper Lake)    
Cygnus olor Mute Swan 2 adults & 2 cygnets
Podiceps cristatus Great Crested Grebe 1 adult & 1 well grown chick
BIRDS (Middle Lake)    
Cygnus olor Mute Swan 2 adults & 3 cygnets on middle lake one adult with ring 863Y
BIRDS (Lower Lake)    
Anas platyrhynchos Mallard  
Fulica atra Coot 1 adult
Gallinula chloropus Moorhen 1 adult
Accipiter nisus Sparrowhawk Fledged young in tree tops calling to be fed
Sciurus carolinensis Grey Squirrel Investigating desiccated pond to east end of keepers cottage
Neomys fodiens Water Shrew Dead specimen on draw-down mud bank of Lower Lake boundary drain
Microtus agrestis Field Vole Dead specimen on lawn at head of Lower Lake.
Cameraria ohridella Horse-chestnut Leaf-miner Leaf mines on Horse-chestnuts throughout the park.
Elachista maculiceruselis Triple-spot Dwarf Leaf mine along the entire length of a Phragmites leaf.
NWT Dane’s Hill Lakes – Friday, 8th July 2020

Assembled at 10:30am in car park at SK669865

 Leader: Jim Burnett

Nine members present.

 This flat sandy site in the floodplain of the River Ryton is one of a series of restored flooded sand & gravel pits. The visit took place on a hot sunny day after a period of dry weather. Along sunlit sections of perimeter paths the Butterflies were particularly numerous and active.

NWT Dane’s Hill Lakes
Acer campestre  Field Maple
Acorus calamus Sweet Flag
Alnus glutinosa Alder
Anagalis arvensis Scarlet Pimpernel
Arrhenatherum elatius False Oat-grass
Artemisia vulgaris Mugwort
Bellis perennis Daisy
Betuls pendula Silver Birch
Bryonia dioica White Bryony
Buddleja davidii Butterfly Bush
Camerion angustifolium Rosebay
Carex pendula Pendulous Sedge
Centaurea nigra Common Knapweed
Centaurium erythraea Common Centaury
Circaea lutetiana Enchanters’ Nightshade
Cirsium arvense Creeping Thistle
Cirsium palustre Marsh Thistle
Cirsium vulgare Spear Thistle
Crassula helmsii Newzealand Pygmyweed
Crataegus monogyna Hawthorn
Dactylis glomerata Cock’s-foot Grass
Dactylorhiza praetermissa Southern Marsh Orchid
Dianthus barbatus Sweet William
Dryopteris filix-mass Male Fern
Epilobium hirsutum Hairy Willowhweb
Epilobium montanum Broad-leaved Willowherb
Epipactis helleborine Broad-leaved Helleborine
Equisetum arvense Common Horsetail
Euphorbis helioscopia Sun Spurge
Filipendula ulmaria Meadowsweet
Galium aparine Cleavers
Galium saxatile Marsh Bedstraw
Geranium robertianum Herb Robert
Geum urbanum Wood Avens
Glechoma hederacea Ground-ivy
Hedera helix Ivy
Heracleum sphondylium Hogweed
Holcus lanatus Yorkshire-fog
Hypericum  tetrapterum Square-stemmed St John’s wort
Hypericum perforatum Perforate St John’s wort
Iris pseudacurus Yellow Iris
Juncus effusus Soft Rush
Ligustrum vulgare Wild Privet
Lolium perenne Rye Grass
Lotus corniculatus Bird’s-foot Trefoil
Lotus uliginosus Marsh Trefoil
Lycopus europus Gipsywort
Lythrum salicaria Purple-loosestrife
Malva sylvestris Mallow
Mentha aquatica Water Mint
Phragmites australis Common Reed
Pinus nigra subsp. Corsican Pine
Plantago lanceolata Lanceolate Plantain
Plantago major Broad-leaved Plantain
Populus  x canadensis Gray Poplar
Potentilla anserine Silverweed
Pulicaria dysenterica Fleabane
Quercus robur Common Oak
Ranunculus repens Creeping Buttercup
Rhinanthus minor Yellow Rattle
Rosa canina Dog Rose
Rubus fruticosus agg Bramble
Salix cinerea Grey Willow
Salix pentandra Bay-leaved Willow
Salix var fragilis Crack Willow
Salix viminalis Osier
Sambucus nigra Elder
Scrophularia auriculata Water Figwort
Scutellaria galericulata Skullcap
Senecio jacobaea Common Ragwort
Silene alba White Campion
Silene dioica Red Campion
Solanum dulcamara Woody Nightshade
Stachys sylvatica Hedge Woundwort
Torilis japonica Upright Hedge-parsley
Tragopogon pratensis Goat’s-beard
Tussilago farfara Colt’s Foot
Typha latifolia Reedmace
Ulex europaeus Gorse
Urtica dioica Stinging Nettle
Viburnum opulus Guelder-rose
COLEOPTERA (Beetles)  
Coccinella septempunctata 7 spot Ladybird
Oedemera nobilis  Thick-legged Flower Beetle (Pair in ‘cop’ on Hog weed flower) N.B.
DIPTERA (Flies)  
Episyrphus balteatus Marmalade Hoverfly (nectaring on Hogweed umbel)
Eristalis tenax Common Dronefly (nectaring on Buddleja davidii)
Syrphus ribesii Common Hoverfly (nectaring on Hogweed umbel)
Vollucella pelucens Pellucid Hoverfly (nectaring on Buddleja davidii)
HYMENOPTERA (Bees & Wasps)  
Apis mellifera Western Honey Bee  (nectaring on Buddleja davidii)
Andrena sp. Mining Bee (nectaring on Buddleja davidii)
Profenusa pygmaea (Symphyta) Sawfly ID from Blotch mine on Oak leaf
LEPIDOPTERA (Butterflies & Moths)  
Aphantopus hyperantus Ringlet
Epermenia chaerophyllella Garden Lance-wing moth ID from leaf mine on Hogweed leaf.
Pieris brassicae Large White
Pieris rapae Small White
Polygonia c-album Comma (on Buddleja davidii)
Polyommatus icarus Common Blue
Pyronia tithonus Gatekeeper
Thymelicus lineola Essex Skipper
Thymelicus sylvestris Small Skipper
Vanessa atalanta Red Admiral (on Buddleja davidii)
ODONATA (Dragonflies & Damselflies)  
Aeshna mixta Migrant Hawker
Ischnura elegans Blue-tailed Damselfly
Enallagma cyathigerum Common Blue Damselfly
ARACHNIDA (Spiders)  
Agelina labyrinthica Several webs in gorse & brambles in sunlit areas.  Male & female collected for identification from same labyrinthine web … perhaps not so cosy!
FISH (from chat with local Angler)
Abramis brama Bream
Cyprinus carpio Common Carp
Esox lucius Northern Pike
Perca fluviatilis Perch
Rutilus rutilus Roach
Tinca tinca Tench
Talpa europaea Mole (Hills) along pathways. Most with soil kicked away by pedestrians, revealing the hole and burrow beneath)
Anas platyrhynchos Mallard
Anser anser Greylag Goose (1 in first lake)
Branta canadensis Canada Goose (37 in first lake)
Columba palumbus Common Woodpigeon
Cygnus olor Mute Swan (pair with  6 cygnets in the large lake)
Erithacus rubecula European Robin
Fulica atra Eurasian Coot
Gallinula chloropus Common Moorhen
Phylloscopus collybita Common Chiffchaff
Sylvia atricapilla Eurasian Blackcap
Troglodytes troglodytes Eurasian Wren
Turdus philomelos Song Thrush
Podiceps cristatus Great-crested Grebe
Haematopus ostralegus Eurasian Oyster Catcher
Tadorna tadorna Shellduck
Anas strepera Gadwall
Anas platyrhynchos Mallard
Aythya fuligula Tufted Duck
Gallinula chloropus Eurasian Moorhen
Chroicocephalus ridibundus Black-headed Gull
Larus argentatus  Herring Gull
Pica pica Eurasian Magpie
Corvus corone Carrion Crow
Cyanistes caeruleus Blue Tit

C. A. Howes

There’s certainly a lot going on in your Dane’s Hill Hogweed umbel photograph. The insect ‘top middle’ is some form of Hymenopteran … but what?

On hot sunny days  when we’re all flagging from the heat, perhaps the best ploy is to grab a few shots of Buddleia or Umbelifera flowers … Giant Hogweeds are some of the best (!), retire to the shade or return home and spend the rest of the day identifying the nectaring insects with the help of a library of identification keys and the internet.