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.
All welcome:
Please contact us about any sensitive records before posting on the blog

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Walk this Thursday August 4th

There will be an evening walk this Thursday to Oats Royd NR, Holmfield.
Meet at the Junction of School Lane and Riley Lane for an easy pleasant walk to this Nature Reserve. We will try to relocate the Helleborine. Easy parking. Meet @ 6:45 pm for a 7:00 pm start. NOTE all evening walks in August will start at 7:00 pm
Parking Map

Friday, 29 July 2011

Yellow Birds Nest

This plant was seen near Todmorden by Michael Sykes.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Sunny Vale

There will be a walk this Thursday to Sunny Vale 28th July 2011 Map

Meet in Halifax Old Road, Hipperholme (the road behind the pet store west of the lights) at 7:15pm for a 7:30 start for a walk to Sunny Vale.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Eight people turned out for the gentle walk around Cromwell Bottom (part way round only) tonight.
The orchid we think is broad leaved helleborine was at its best. There were 11 spikes, from small to about 50cm.
The Yellow Birds Nest (Monotropa) was also flowering and had about 20 spikes. This is a saprophytic plant, containing no green chlorophyll.
The Round leaved Wintergreen was also in full flower.
Unfortunately the Common Twayblade which we have known from there in good quantity at this time of year was not showing at all.

Tree disease getting closer

Following the Phytopthera ramorum (known as Sudden Oak Death) in Rhododendrons at Shibden last year, there has been an outbreak of this tree disease in the Peak district this year.

Today, the Forestry Commission have said 25 acres of Larch trees will have to be felled at Churn Clough on the slopes of Pendle Hill because they have been found to be infected. These are the only outbreaks in England to occur outside the South West and the FC expect more will be found.

Although (so far) our native oaks have not been found suceptible, it seems Bilberry and other heathland plants are at great risk.
Rhododendron ponticum is a sporulating host for this disease and it should be a great worry that our area has lots of this plant. I am surprised the government hasn't made it a priority to fund removal of this pest before the Ramorum affects our moors.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Evening Walk

I am leading a gentle walk to Cromwell Bottom Local Nature Reserve this Thursday 21st July to see whatever we can find, but especially plants. We will be going to Newt Corner, then back via the canal bank, without going round the whole of Brookfoot Loop.

Meet at 7.15 pm for a 7.30 pm start. The walk will be about 1.5 to 2 hours.
Meeting place, the Anglers' Car Park, behind Cromwell House. (Brick building with clock on the Elland-Brighouse road.)

All welcome.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Lister Lane Cemetery (link) Sunday 17th July 2011
There will be a gentle walk to the Lister Lane cemetery, Halifax this Sunday July 17th. This site is packed with wildlife and is open to the public (see link for times). Meet outside Calderdale College, Francis Street at 12 noon until 3pm for a stroll around the site. Easy parking.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Tree Sparrows & Swallows

Still some nesting activity on the barn at Woolrow, Brighouse today.
One bird appeared to be removing a fecal sac, and another seemed to be taking more nesting material in through the gaps in the stonework.
Also a few House Sparrows mingling with the T S's.
Plus, over 50 Swallows were disturbed by a couple of Kestrels hunting nearby.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Cromwell Bottom last week

One of the Mint species
Thanks to Charlie and Philip - these appear to be Nail Galls

Shield Bug, Possibly Pentatoma rufipes ???
Common Spotted Orchid

We had a visit to Cromwell Bottom and found Spotted Orchids and an unidentified plant of the Mint family also the shield bug possibly Pentatoma rufipes, If anyone can confirm or otherwise what species then please let us know, and also what appear to be eggs on leaves - any ideas?

Friday, 8 July 2011

Small Skippers etc

We have dozens of Small Skipper butterflies on our grassland at Sunnybank, Todmorden. Also similar numbers, or more, of Common Blue damselflies in the same habitat.

Also seen a Southern Hawker dragonfly just emerged from pond in same area and its case next to it.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Birds still nesting and new plants turning up.

Found a Dunnock's nest today with four young with their flight feathers about half grown.
It was an easy one to find, on the evidence of both adults leaving the shrub one quite soon after the other. It is a Skimmia bush, very unprickly and near a path. I'd be surprised if they survive the crows and magpies.

Also in the same area, in the garden of a part-built house, a foxes earth dug into the side of a pile of soil which is high with weeds. I had seen a fox slinking away from there last week in the middle of the day. There are cubs about now. A very small one was killed on Wakefield Road at Copley.

In my garden, a juvenile blackcap panicked in my wide-open greenhouse and couldn't find the way out. I caught it with a large net and showed it the door.

Care must be taken about loose-hanging netting in the garden. I had to cut a chunk of netting out with a blue tit tangled in it. It was so badly tangled I had to take it inside and sit at the table and slowly cut it out. This was so it didn't escape from me with net still round its legs.

On the subject of plants, I have been informed that the Yellow Bird's Nest is appearing again near Todmorden Railway Station, the second year it is known to have been there. There is some at Cromwell Bottom LNR as well, and a new orchid species has been shown to me there. We are fairly sure it is Broad-leaved Helleborine, Epipactis helleborine.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Banded Demoiselle

Original message from Mike Stead

I had a great sighting of a Banded Demoiselle today - maybe not that unusual for Calderdale, but the first time that I've been able to make a clear identification !
It was in the long grass opposite the Old Mill pub ,East of Brighouse, next to the Calder.

Unidentified ground beetle - update

Further to my earlier post regarding a ground beetle I couldn't id (thanks to Linda and to Calderdale Wildlife for their comments), as well as posting on the blog for help I also contacted Mike Denton, an insect expert from Huddersfield, and he has now replied as follows:
"The beetle you found is indeed a Carabus species – but not nemoralis. It is a much rarer beast called Carabus nitens. The species is found in association with Heather, the colour of the wing-cases acting as camouflage. The species has the national status of Notable B as it only occurs in between 31 and 100 10km squares of the national grid. If you could gave me full locality details, along with date and a grid reference, I can then add it to my database. The species, many years ago, occurred about a mile up the road from where I live – the building of a caravan park put paid to that, however. Although I have seen many dead specimens from pitfall traps, I have never seen a live one!"

Monday, 4 July 2011

Walk This Sunday July 10th

This is a more strenuous walk on this coming Sunday morning 10th July. Meet by the river at Todmorden Bus Station, Burnley Road OL14 5DJ - Map

8.30am for 8.45 start. Walk for approx. 3 hours up as far as Whirlaw Common and back by a circular route.

These more hilly walks are designed to help those who are fit to maintain fitness whilst looking out for wildlife at the same time.

Stunning views over the valleys weather permitting, including the wind-farm threatened Todmorden Moor on the opposite side.

Friday, 1 July 2011

Cromwell Bottom meeting - 12 July

Hello All,

The rearranged Cromwell Bottom Open Meeting will take place on Tuesday 12th July, from 6:30pm for a 7:00pm start at the Black Bull Hotel in Brighouse (on Thornton Square, near to the Wilkinsons store)

This meeting will look at the opportunity to re-establish a community interest group and what that involves. 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!

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

Could our forests be at risk again?

Just a few months ago, over half a million of us came together to win an incredible victory. Against the odds we convinced the government to abandon their plans to sell our forests. But our forests could still be at risk. When the government abandoned their forest sell-off plans, they said they'd set up an “independent panel of experts” to help decide the future of our woodlands. they could be under pressure to rubber-stamp more sell-offs. Together, we can stop that happening. We don’t have long. We’ve got until the end of July to answer their questions about our woodlands.
Can you take 2 minutes to answer the panel's questions now? Please go to: There are five questions all together. But if you’ve only got time to answer one or two, that’s fine.