This Blog covers nature sightings and related news in the Calderdale area.
It includes all groups - Plants, animals and fungi with links to specialist sites.
Anyone wishing to become a member of this Blog and post sightings please contact us.
If you would like to join the Halifax Scientific Society either email me or come along to the next meeting.
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Thursday, 30 June 2011

Beetle id help please

Walking at Langfield Edge this morning I nearly stepped on this chap (or chapess?). I'm sure it is common but can anyone help with id please as I can't find it in my books.

Further finds of Bee orchid at Sterne Mills

Michael S. found a pair of flower spikes a few days later about 9 paces from the first one the group of us saw on 18th June.

Then, when I went down to see them with him, I found another. So that's 4 spikes so far.

I have informed West Yorkshire Ecology, and am in correspondance with the Chief Ecologist at ARUP Consultants for the developer who has planning permission to build over this beautiful green space.

The Ecologist is talking about transplanting and the creation of an "orchid bank".

Michael has sent me an image of the new spikes he found, but I am unable to attach them to this. I am working on my old desktop as my laptop has broken down. This might mean me being a bit out of touch for a while.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Evening Walk

Sorry for the short notice, Folks. I've been away in Norfolk.

There is an unscheduled walk arranged for tomorrow evening, that is Thursday 30th June. Leader - me.

Meet for a "Gentle Constitutional" (i.e. a flat walk with no stiles) at Ogden Reservoir. Rendevous at the closed cafe/shop at 7.15pm for a 7.30 start. We will be walking along the shore path. (Not all the way round the res.) Approx return to carpark at 9.00pm. Last time I was there I enjoyed the haunting sounds of 2 species of geese as they came in overhead and gathered for the night on the water. Whatever you think of Canada geese it is a spectacle of nature. The other species? Some may want to do the i.d . for themselves.

(No guarantee both species will be there, but we are sure to hear birdsong, and maybe a few bats will be out.)

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Bee Orchids

These superb Bee Orchids were recently found at Stern Mills, Sowerby Bridge by Michael Sykes. This site is soon to be bulldozed and put under concrete!
Bee Orchids, Stern Mills. © M.Sykes

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Floating pennywort?

Hello All,

Floating pennywort is a highly invasive plant which covers the surface of waterbodies and eventually kills aquatic life as well as being a 'blockage' nuisance to water users such as anglers and the boating fraternity. It spreads rapidly and has been recorded in the River Calder and Calder and Hebble Navigation.

This year the Calder and Colne Rivers Trust will take the lead in trying to eliminate Floating pennywort from our catchment area. They will work closely with British Waterways, Environment Agency and others. It is intended that Floating pennywort be sprayed in the summer and autumn with approved herbicide using the latest recommended methodology.

If you are unaware of what this plant looks like information about it can be found at

Help is needed in identifying where the plant is growing. Please report any sightings to Mike Adams at or 01924 275644.


Hugh Firman, Conservation Officer, Calderdale Council

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Tuesday 28th June at Cromwell Bottom - Meeting Cancelled.

                      But the walk there will go ahead.

From: Robin Dalton
Sent: 21 June 2011 17:21
To: Hugh Firman
Subject: Cancelled meeting and Evening Wildlife Stroll

Dear All,

Due to an issue with the timings and venue which arose whilst I was on annual leave, I again find myself extending my sincerest apologies in having to cancel the proposed meeting to look into the opportunities available in setting up a Friends Group at Cromwell Bottom. This was due to be held at the Cartwheel Club on Tuesday 28th June.

I appreciate your patience on this and hope you will bear with me. The next date in July will be definitive, with absolutely no chance of hic-ups (though I am expecting my second child near the time, but Hugh says he can cover regardless – the meeting not the delivery!!)

However, if you still are free on Tuesday, myself and Hugh will be having a stroll around Cromwell Bottom to look at the wildlife interest this time of year. Meeting in the Fishermans car park at 7:00pm, opposite the pallet works. It’d be great if you are able to come along and hopefully see you there.

Best wishes.


Robin Dalton
Area Countryside Officer - Lower Valley
Safer, Cleaner, Greener

Sunday, 19 June 2011

7-spot ladybird Coccinella 7-punctata

Lavae of 7-spot ladybird
This larvae was seen on June 12th in Holmfield. Not many ladybirds seen this year. 

Nursery tent of P. mirabilis
This nursery web of the spider Pisura mirabilis was found at Stern mills on 18th June.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Next Walk - a reminder

Our next walk is this Saturday June 18th

Meet Colin Duke at Hollas Lane for a botanical search of Sterne Mills. This plant and bird-rich area is under threat of development. Easy walking.
Meet at SE077232 at 10:30am  Map

Monday, 13 June 2011

More Tree Sparrows

An afternoon circular North of Brighouse produced some good views (but not too close) of half a dozen Tree Sparrows, in and around a barn at Woolrow Farm. This is about a mile West of the established site at Jay House Lane, so these birds could either be from that site, or possibly be part of a new colony. The farm is at the end of a very narrow track which leads down to Bailiffe Bridge; map ref 152245

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Sterne Mills Wildlife Destruction allowed

The applicationto develop the Copley /Sowerby Bridge Valley was passed yesterday.
If any nesting birds can be found, that SHOULD hold up starting until the young have flown.
Despite heavy showers this evening, it was evident that Willow Warbler, (2 males singing) a pair of Common Whitethroat, Grey Wagtail and Song Thrush were on the site and therefore probably breeding. A mallard duck had a newly hatched flotilla of ducklings on the river.
The rare Fern Grass is flowering away on the gravel areas, and the Red Campion is in full bloom.
In April I found native Primrose blooming on the canal bank beside the bridge they are going to widen to the size of a major trunk road.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Cromwell Bottom LNR meeting 28th June

PLEASE NOTE this meeting will now start at the fishermans car park, by the pallets, at Cromwell Bottom at 7:pm 28th June to look at wildlife and not as below.

Tuesday 28th June, from 6:30pm for a 7:00pm start at the Cartwheel Club in Elland.

The meeting will discuss the opportunity to re-establish a community interest group and what that involves. Alongside a look at some of the current management issues, we hope to gather a group of interested people to work in partnership with the Council to take the next steps forward in looking after this diverse nature reserve. All interested persons welcomed!

For more information please contact Robin Dalton, Area Countryside Officer, or 01422 393244

Norland Moor walk Saturday 25th June

Anyone with an interest in the management of Norland Moor Local Nature Reserve is welcome to attend an afternoon walk starting at 2pm. Meet in the car park by the swings. The walk will be led by Robin Dalton, Area Countryside Officer, and will look at some of the issues affecting the moor and discuss future priorities.

For more information please contact 01422 393244

Oats Royd

Broom and some Gorse at Oats Royd NR

The Broom bushes at Oats Royd are in full bloom just now. Canada Geese have 3 and 4 young. Swallows and Swifts are in large numbers. Not many Butterflies about though. A friendly beetle arrived and I snapped it just as it was leaving. The photo of the fish is the best I got - any ideas as to species?
Dor beetle (Geotrupes spp)

Does anyone know what species of fish this is?

Friday, 3 June 2011



A beautiful walk in the sun around Cromwell Bottom and along the canal bank this morning. The usual common birds singing, the most noticeable being Blackcap and ChiffChaff. Many common butterflies and a lot of Azure damselflies and a couple of Common Blue damselflies. Grasshoppers were busy and I found this Southern Marsh Orchid
along with a few smaller ones together in a small area.
                The ponds are extremely dry with no water visible from the path in a couple of them.The wildflowers are quite beautiful there at the moment. Plenty of bees around, Buff Tail, Common Carder, White Tail and Tree bumblebee, which now seems quite common in the area.
In the canal I saw a large shoal of grey fish. My first thought was Grey Trout but I'm not sure that they would be in the canal. Any thoughts on this?