The nationally rare and very beautiful Tansy Beetle can be found on the site between May and July every year on its favoured plant.
The Tansy Beetle (Chrysolina graminis) is an attractive bright green leaf beetle, with a coppery sheen. The wing cases were so admired by Victorians that they were used as sequins. It received its name because the favored habitat is on riverbanks on Tansy (tanacetum vulgare) plants. Its range is currently restricted to 26 kilometre of the banks of the River Ouse around York and Selby. It was once quite widespread throughout Britain, but environmental factors (possibly due to introduced plants that have replaced the tansy plant) have contributed to a sharp decline in population. See more on the Tansy Beetle Action Group’s (TBAG) and Buglife pages and the UK Priority Species pages (PDF).
There are also a number of other rare invertebrates inhabiting the site.
Butterflies & Moths
Although not an ideal breeding ground for butterflies due to it flooding, many species of butterfly can be seen across the site as they search out the different food sources available. Elm trees have been planted to encourage White-letter Hairstreaks and a wide range of plants are maintained across the site for the many species seen.
Rawcliffe Meadows is a great spot for a birdwatching walk. From black caps to treecreepers, long-tailed tits to house martins, read about the birds seen by one group of enthusiasts during a spring visit.
Despite the site being generally known as the ‘Meadows’ it contains a range of habitats from the internationally rare MG4 grassland with its meadowsweet and great burnet signature species to the wetlands with a surprising range of plants including fleabane, devil’s bit scabious and strawberry clover. There is also the Cornfield Reserve which is being managed to cultivate some of the rarer plants once found in similar fields in the region, but now lost and the several copses are also home to plants like giant bellflower.
Damselflies and Dragonflies
During the summer the Pond and the scrapes in the Reservoir basin also bear witness to a range of damselflies and dragonflies…