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Sunday, 27 December 2015

First Halifax Scientific Society Walk for 2016

As the blog isn't working at the moment, I am adding this to the post below

The first event of the year for the last several years has been a 
New Year's Bird Count on 1st January
this year, as it has been so mild, we will also be listing which plants we can find flowering

Meet 10.30 for 10.40 at Clay House, West Vale. You can park in the drive.
We walk through North Dean Woods, in sight of the 180 year-old bridge destroyed by
 the Boxing Day flood 

Then, if the weather is not too wet or windy, across Norland Moor to the Ladstone for
the amazing vistas; returning by a slightly different route
A couple of us have an extra interest now in the moor, as we represent Naturalists' points of view 
on the new Norland Moor Consultative group

Bring a packed lunch. The walk is about 7 miles, and we aim to get back by about 3.30

Steve Blacksmith
Report on the walk.

Six people came along this year. The tally was up, with 26 species of bird seen. (Only two plants in flower - Annual Meadow grass and Herb Bennet. - but lots of interesting fungi inc. the dwarf form of Sulphur Tuft, not listed in many books.)

Previous years bird totals were 21 last year and 18 the year before.

Notable bird sightings were Green Woodpecker, and interesting to see a male Reed Bunting at dusk go to ground and disappear among thick tufts of Purple Moor Grass - couldn't be flushed - so this must be where it was roosting for the night.

Hoards of people on the moor - I counted 37 in sight at one point - no doubt displaced from canal and river bank walks by the flood devastation.


Mussels in the Drained Canal at Todmorden

the"foot" of this one is visible on the right

some seem to know the way to deeper water. Others crawl about aimlessly, leaving a furrow in the mud.

This mussel is in the Calder and Hebble Canal (e.g. at Cromwell Bottom) and the Rochdale Canal.
They're possibly Swan Mussels though I'm no conchologist.
I don't know if they're edible. I've seen the empty shells where animals/birds have eaten them. They grow to about 6 inches ( 15cm. ) long sometimes.

The canal section that is draining into the river after the embankment was washed away by  the floods is the one below Oldroyd Lock, Todmorden. 
The authorities have blocked off access to the canal towpath from Woodhouse Rd. bridge downstream, but you can see these Mussels just above bridge, where the towpath is currently  open up to Todmorden, though looking at the damage to the towpath, that may be closed as well.


saucyjack777 said...

I found big ones at woodhouse today

Philip said...

When the fishing dam up Woodhouse Road was drained about 15 years ago so it would fish better, all the sludge was cleared out; there were hundreds of dinner plate size mussels left in the remaining drying mud. I think many died but at the time no one seemed interested and the sludge was dumped on the moors. Woodhouse valley and its dams must be a home for mussels as well as the canal. The dam also had a lot of unusual water flora dredged and dumped. Tragic really that more care wasn't taken at the time. I believe the fishing improved though.

Steve Blacksmith said...

That big?
The biggest I've seen were in the lake at Bretton Hall (Yorkshire Sculpture Park) when that was drained.

We should record and also report everything rare in the plant and animal world to make sure the same doesn't happen as at that fishing dam, as you do Philip.

Conchology was a favourite hobby in the 19thC it seems, with lists of species of water snails from the canals, dams, etc still in the HSS archives.