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Friday, 30 June 2017

Hare

Nice to see a hare cross in front of me this afternoon at Cold Edge

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Sycamore tree

In a recent survey of Callis Wood at Charlestown, we saw some leaves of a mature Sycamore that looked different. They were on the end of a low, large branch and if shown in isolation it would be easy to assume they are from an ornamental maple.






Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Birdwatching Ramble at Rishworth

On Saturday 17th June, nine of us met at Heathfield Prep for a birdwatching ramble in the Rishworth area, taking in Booth Dean and Turner Clough with its breathtaking views of the River Ryburn. Some of the terrain was a tad challenging but the rewards were worth it - wild and untamed areas of woodland where we spotted some fascinating moths as well as birds. Steve did his usual half-hour count of bird species which totalled 17. Later, we saw two Buzzards, the first of which was of such a size that Charlie said he would possibly have identified it as a Golden Eagle had we been in Scotland! Out of the woods, we were treated to more butterflies and moths, with a possible first for Calderdale identified by Charlie as Grapholita compositella, or the Clover Seed moth. There were a good number of Speckled Wood butterflies and I was very excited to see a Yellow Shell moth for the first time in two years! Julian took an excellent shot of it, shown here, which was no easy task on such an extremely bright and sunny day. As for mammals, one young Roe deer was spotted, one rabbit and one squirrel. There was also evidence of moles in the form of molehills.
Plant species were also noted; Julian photographed a Southern Marsh orchid - identity now verified by Peachysteve.
On our way back down the road, Steve and Charlie spotted a Ruby-tailed wasp, which Steve managed to photograph very well in spite of the insect buzzing around at high speed.
It was a great ramble despite the heat, and - as always - it was a wonderful privilege to be walking with experts!


(Possibly) Southern Marsh orchid Julian Birkhead


One of the many exquisite scenes we saw along the Ryburn Julian Birkhead

Yellow Shell moth Julian Birkhead



Ruby-tailed Wasp Chrysis ignita SB
Charlie Streets explains it would have been searching the cracks in the wall for other wasp nests or those of  mining bees to parasitise. Only about the size of a bluebottle fly, it must qualify as one of the most superbly-coloured insects in Britain. 

Mistletoe

Had a pleasant surprise this week. When inspecting my apple tree I discovered two new mistletoe plants in addition to the one that germinated four years ago.

I've not added any berries in that time so assume the seeds have lain dormant since then.

Fingers crossed I now have both sexes!


Wanted! Butterfly survey volunteers

Natalie at the National Trust has asked me to share this request for butterfly volunteers with you:



We are currently recruiting for survey volunteers at Hardcastle Crags!

Mainly we survey butterflies in the peak season and record our results onto the UK BMS database in partnership with Butterfly Conservation.

We want to expand our group so that we can collect more records, survey other critters as well as carrying out survey work which will influence our practical countryside work plans, habitat management and natural flood management work.

See the link below for the survey role profile and Hardcastle crags information packs.

The survey team meet up once a month for a catch up meet with a guest speaker accompanied with a survey on site. In the last meeting we had a student studying bumblebees on our hay meadows and for the next meeting we have a local mosses and liverworts chap talking about his crags discoveries and helping us to I.D.

Interested? Contact me directly on the email below with any other questions and information regarding a taster day.

Best wishes,
Natalie

Natalie Pownall
Academy Ranger
West Yorkshire Group
National Trust
07768434553



Friday, 16 June 2017

Bashing balsam update!

On Wednesday I went balsam bashing at Hardcastle Crags - the balsam is quick and easy to pull up and 7 of us cleared quite an area fast, which is always satisfying!  If you'd like to have a go and help trying to rid Hardcastle Crags of this non native plant which is threatening to out compete other native plants, please help the National Trust by going along to sessions on 19th and 27th June, and 6th, 14th and 19th July, all at 18.00 - 20.00.  Wear protective clothing (nettles and brambles can sting!) and bring insect repellent. Stay for as long as you like. Meet at Midgehole Car Parking (if volunteering and you are not a member of the National Trust, there is no car parking charge.)












Thursday, 15 June 2017

Rhinoceros Beetle

Continuing with the beetle theme, here are a couple of pictures of a male rhinoceros beetle, Sinodendron cylindricum, which I found in my garden in Halifax last night. It was struggling to walk - all caught up in thick cobweb which I removed with a pin and set him free to amble up the path, pointing him in the direction of the woodpile.

Interesting Beetle

We saw this ground beetle, Elaphrus cupreus, swimming about at the edge of a pool on the moor above Pecket Well yesterday on the impromptu Halifax Scientific Society walk. Turns out not to be uncommon in this environment, but a handsome beast and interesting to watch as it paddled around with it's antennae in the air.


Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Ash Dieback

There are reports this season from respected arborists, that the advance of Ash dieback disease is breath taking across Yorkshire and Lancs/Cumbria.

I travelled over to Gisburn a few days ago and the majority of Ash trees, both young and mature, had severe thinning and dieback, with many looking near death. Plenty of evidence also on mature trees in Calderdale.

In the adjacent limestone areas where virtually every other tree is an Ash, it will have devastating effects.

Plenty of 'woodlands' being planted but no one is replacing the landscape trees which we all love and make the land what it is.

Monday, 5 June 2017

Bash that Balsam!



If you fancy some fun and useful practical conservation work, the HSS have been invited to join the National Trust in doing some balsam bashing at Hardcastle Crags.  Come for as long or as short a time as you like, it’s very informal – dates are : 14th, 19th, 27th June and 6th, 14th and 19th July, all at 6.00 – 8.00pm.  There will be signposts from Midgehole Carpark directing you to where the balsam bashing that evening is taking place.  Please note, car parking charges for non National Trust members may apply.