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

Monday, 30 January 2012

Results of Meeting on 30th January re Budget proposals

Please find attached a note from Monday's well attended meeting. 
This has been emailed to colleagues from Anthony Rae.
The deadline is next Wednesday 8th February budget(at); the 
following Monday 13th is when the Cabinet will actually make its budget recommendations.
I've already prepared a draft of our joint statement and I will circulate it to you as soon as possible for comment/approval;
Then next Thursday 9th February 6 p.m. the council's Communities Scrutiny panel will be reviewing budget proposals including the Countryside Service. 
That is when I will present our joint statement and I would recommend you attend if you can/want to. You often get a chance to submit your views in person.
   also find attached a copy of an article that appeared in yesterday's Courier.

Anthony     Link to Minutes of Mondays Meeting   Link to Courier article

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Violet coral fungi

Fungi. Clavaria zollingeri  © Micheal Sykes
Clavaria zollingeri, Commonly known as the violet coral or the magenta coral.
This specimen was found by Michael Sykes a couple of years ago. It is rare in the Uk and usually only found in the south. it appears occasionally in the Blackshaw Head area of Calderdale.

Friday, 27 January 2012

S. austriaca  © Michael Sykes

Scarlet Elf Cup from near Wakefield Road, Copley.

Picture taken on 26/1/2012 by M. Sykes.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Myxomatosis Strikes

Among the scores of healthy Rabbits in Luddenden Dean today was this one individual showing signs of myxomatosis. The picture could be better but the swollen eye and orbit can be seeing on enlarging the image. The animal chose to crouch down and lay still as opposed to it's neighbours which ran away.
Rabbit with enlarged eyesockets
Also seen was one Weasel scurrying across the road.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012


Galanthus navalis © Michael Sykes
Snowdrops in flower.

Picture: Michael Sykes

Friday, 20 January 2012


A male Blackcap appeared in a garden near Well Head Park (Halifax) on 10th Jan. It defended the feeders against all other birds, forcing them to feed on the ground.

On 13th Jan in the morning, it was seen to fly high over the house towards the east, and hasn't returned.

Change of Speaker

The speaker booked for Tuesday 14th February is unable to attend.
Finn Jensen has kindly stepped in with a talk entitled "Climate Change".  All Welcome at the usual venue. Halifax Central Library at 7:15pm.

Thank you Finn

Countryside Unit but not as we know it

I have just read the budget proposals and attended a meeting at Tod Town Hall. It is proposed to remove the Countryside Unit from the Council budget. Ideas, not yet thought out are to place it totally separate from the council and into a charitable trust. According to Courier and the budget proposals, there are to be job implications in countryside and forestry. I have just received this info:-

"There is a meeting on the 30th January organised by Calderdale Sustainability Forum being held 30th January at 4.30pm above Mytholmroyd Library regarding the Council’s proposed budget and the impact this is likely to have upon Calderdale’s Countryside Service. For more information Calderdale Sustainability Forum email The budget proposals can be found at

All consultation ends on 13th Feb so not much time.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Northern L.T.T.

The northern long tailed tits are still about. There was one with about 8  LTT's this am near the lower lodge, Luddenden Dean.

Monday, 16 January 2012


Two days ago we had a nuthatch investigating our birdbox in the wood at Todmorden and pecking at the hole to widen it. Spring must not be far away!

1st Volunteer Day of the Cromwell Bottom Wildlife Group

Many thanks to everyone who came on Saturday for the first volunteer day as Bruce has already said the weather gods were smiling on us and we cleared quite a large area of trees and scrub .
The feeling was to have the second Saturday in the month as a regular work da , for those who couldn't make it or would like to come along to the next one on Saturday the 11th of Febuary you will be very welcome, the plan is to plant some trees in the tag loop and various areas around the site. yours GWH

Link for report       and          Link for pictures

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Venue Change to the January meeting of the Cromwell Bottom Wildlife Group

Hi everyone, the meeting on the 24th of January has been changed to the Mulberry Suite, Bob Wilkinson who is heading the recapping of North Loop is going to update us, and then we will have our meeting directly after, meeting to start at 7pm. Hugh will also be running through how to conduct a survey and access to North Loop issues which will take approx 45mins. For those of you who don't know where the mulberry suite is, if you turn left on to Church Lane and then immediately left on to Parsonage Lane you will see the school gates in front of you go straight forward and park in the school car park. The Mulberry Suite is under the new set of flats directly in front of you.    ALL WELCOME
yours GWH Map Link

Friday, 13 January 2012

SH Roe Deer

Two Roe Deer flushed a pr of Pheasant on the top field at Soil Hill this morning at approx 1015hrs. About 3 years ago this animal could be approached down to around 120 metres, but nowadays there is no chance. Even after stalking them from behind with my camera, upon presentation of my ugly mug at approx 100 metres they dashed off and never stopped running.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

A Very Different Kind of Talk

The Halifax Scientific Society was treated to a brilliant first indoor meeting of the year. (10th Jan.)
Dr Paul Ruffle of Manchester University presented "How I wonder what you are - the birth, life and death of stars" Paul works at the Jodrell Bank Radio Telescope, and lives in Calderdale. You can see his website at

He first put us at ease by having us all sing !

Then he asked us to estimate the number of molecules of air in a centimetre cube, like the plastic cubes everyone had been handed, then related this to the number of molecules of gas and dust in the spaces between the stars. (Hardly any, but enough to be attracted together to form new stars through pressure of gravity, because space is so vast, the number of molecules, though very few compared with our atmosphere, add up to vast amounts of mass.) Throughout, he compared his statistics with concepts we could easily get our brains round.

Then on the screen he showed wonderful animated impressions of what galaxies are like, including our own, and where we are in a conveniently quiet arm of it, and what it would be like to travel through a galaxy. The fabulously varied forms and shapes and (notional) colours of planetary nebulae came toward the end of Paul's talk, some like multi-coloured jellyfish several thousand light-years across.  After some simple to understand diagrams of how the elements develope one from another under fusion within the stars, we saw images of them being flung back into space by the violence of solar flares. New suns in the making.

Several questions were answered from the floor, until the meeting was brought to a close at 9pm.

A worry is that members might forget about collecting observations of the wildlife on our rainy planet and be tempted to immerse themselves in the wonders of astrophysics!


Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Working Party This Saturday - Cromwell Bottom

Myself and Mike took a walk round with Robin Dalton(who is the lead on the working party) on Saturday to check on the areas we were going to clear ie: the 2nd lagoon area , unfortunately its under water which is too deep to work in, however we have another area in mind which will be the Sphagnum Bog , some work was done last year and we would like to clear some more of the willow /birch /and beech whilst trying to keep the oaks that are there . LOOKING FORWARD TO SEEING YOU ALL THERE . meeting in the fisherman's car park 9-30am till 3pm , the area is to the right hand side nearest to the fishing lake between the river and canal and hopefully will be marked.
Wellingtons will be needed along with gloves. If you intend to stay until the afternoon then bring something to eat and drink.

yours GWH

Monday, 9 January 2012

Pictures from Salterhebble

Scarlet Elf Cup. Sarcoscypha austriaca © Michael Sykes
Orange Peel Fungus. Aleuria aurantia ©  Michael Sykes  

Pictures supplied by Michael Sykes.

Frozen Teasel © Michael Sykes

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Fungi at Ogden

Possibly Panellus serotinus.

 Stereum hirsutum

 Stereum hirsutum
These are some of the Fungi seen at Ogden on Monday. Thanks to Michael for the I.D.

Soil Hill Snow Buntings

Along with Dave and Nigel we saw 7 Snow Buntings. There were also 7 Skylarks later relocated by David and Nigel.

These are the best I could manage before my fingers froze.

January Priority Speces Workshop POSTPONED

Dear all,

The priority species workshop planned for tomorrow evening (Weds 4th Jan) has been POSTPONED.
Apologies to anyone who was planning to attend, but to ensure more interested parties are able to come along the meeting will be rescheduled for a date in late February.

It will be a opportunity to discuss actions for priority species in Calderdale for the coming year with Hugh Firman and others. If you would like more information or to come along and contribute to the meeting please email Hugh to express your interest:

The new date will be confirmed ASAP, and we hope to see many of you there.

Happy New Year!


Monday, 2 January 2012

Roe Deer

After I left Bruce and Dave Sutcliffe on Soil Hill, I walked down the N slope and got 3 Roe Deer (last entry on sheet) which on seeing me even at a distance of approx 250 metres away promptly headed back up the hill.
The form which DJS and myself record animal sightings on can be shared by anybody who is interested and viewed at any time.
Should anybody want to share it, please contact me on this link (scroll down to page bottom) and I will arrange it.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

New Year Bird Count at North Dean Woods

The walk to commorate Colin Duke, to look for his favourite fungi, and to raise money for Overgate Hospice by counting bird species, took place in varying types of rain !

From hardly raining at all, to a drenching shower with sleet mixed in; it made the greens and browns of a temperate rain forest shine out of the gloom!

The walk was cut down by about half because we were all drenched, there was a youngster with us, and the stream in Norland Clough would have been a raging torrent. The Calder and the Black Brook were well swollen.

Black-headed Gull
Mistle Thrush singing in the rain
Feral Pigeon
Kestrel, a female down in the drive at Clay House. Possibly eating an earthworm.
Carrion Crow
Mallard       = 14   =  Raised so far approximatley £68.50 for Overgate Hospice

Earth ball - warty type Scleroderma
 "         "      smooth
Jelly Ear  Auricularia auricula-judae - great quantities
Pale Oyster - an large colony on a fallen beech
Bonfire Scalycap - Pholiota highlandensis
Poisonpie - Hebeloma crustuliniforme ?
Candlesnuff Fungus (Stag's Horn)
Small Oysters poss. 1. Creditopus luteolus (Young and still white on a fallen branch.)
also    "        "  poss. 2 .C. variabilis (on leaf debris and clinging on a live bramble.)

Very impressive was a mass of jelly fungus encircling the base of a small dead oak. It was the same colour as A. auricula-judae, but stacked up in masses of tightly curled lobes, like a ruffle collar.
Will try and get a photo this week. At first tentatively identified as Tripe Fungus A.mesenterica, I now think it fits more with Beech Jellydisc Neobulgaria pura var. foliacea, which Philips has as "rare". p.371 in the 2006 edition of "Mushrooms".