GatekeepersTuesday 18th July 2000
GATEKEEPERS typically patrol rides at the sunny entrances to woods, as the name suggests. They are equally at home on the south-facing hedgerow by the canal towpath. We see at least ten, all males, on a one mile stretch.
Males have a diagonal band of scent scales across each forewing.
We are right on the edge of their range here; gatekeepers are absent from the northern half of Britain and, if you go west from here across the Pennines, there are no records for the moor tops.
We see a Comma at the entrance to the woods, and, along the hedges, one or two Large Whites and plenty of Meadow Browns, one pair of them locked together in mating flight.
After so much dull grey weather its good to have a real summer's day at last and walk through a landscape of ripening barley and drying hay. Drifts of golden Common Ragwort fringe a rough pasture.
In the hedgerow two scrambling plants, Lady's Bedstraw (left) and Tufted Vetch are in flower. Near Thornhill there is a tiny colony of Field Scabious (right), confined to turf on the top of a drystone banking, a relict of wildflower-rich meadows that may have existed here before agricultural improvements.