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Askham Bog

Richard Bell’s Wild West Yorkshire nature diary Sunday, 20th July 2008

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IT DIDN’T OCCUR to me to sniff the long-horned beetle (left) but, looking in the field guide when I got home, I thought that it looked like the musk beetle, named for its musky smell.


It’s years since I saw a water vole; when I first started going out with my sketchbook I could expect to see them every summer evening down by the canal. Perhaps mink aren’t present at Askham Bog. When escaped mink spread to our local waterways, water vole numbers plummeted. This morning we saw scratchy marks on a log beneath a bridge across a drainage channel which might indicate that otters visit the reserve; they might oust any resident minks.


Askham Bog is just 5 minutes drive from the centre of York. The circular boardwalk gives you dry-footed access to this boggy area, created by a glacial moraine. Since the ice age, it had gradually filled in through natural succession but peat-digging in the medieval period led to it reverting to bog.


Link: Yorkshire Wildlife Trust

I sketched these as we walked around and added the watercolour later.