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 April 2012

Misty Soil Hill

In the mist this morning:
11 Linnet
5 Lapwing
Buzzard through a gap in the mist and then back in.
GP calling
1 Peregrine shot through at close range - too quick for a shot.
At least 6 Sky lark
2 female Wheatear
The sun came out and there were 4 mallard

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Red Kite over Brighouse

One of the Red Kites spotted by Mike Henshaw

A Yellow Wagtail was near the ski lake Saturday and Sunday - an uncommon sight in Calderdale - David.

Also two Red Kites were drifting over nearby Brighouse Saturday morning by Mike.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Arctosa perita 15 04 12

Found this interesting Spider, Arctosa perita whilst walking on Whiteholme Drain on 15 04 12,never noticed it up there before in the many years i have been going up there,seems to be more Coastal,though records also from sandy areas inland,just wondering,as anyone else recorded it Locally ? regards Bri.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Plant ID?

Can anyone identify this aquatic plant for me please?
It's been suggested it might be Watercress?

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Walk leaders gen up on first aid

Bruce Hoyle and Steve Blacksmith, two of the walk leaders with Halifax Scientific Society, and on the Wildside Walk programme with the Council Countryside Service, went on a course yesterday.

From 8.45 to 17.00, with glorious views outside the classroom of Ogden Reservoir, the woods, and the moors beyond, they grappled with techniques of emergency first aid under the trainer from First Aid Professionals of Halifax, a course provided free by Calderdale Council.

Birds were singing outside, including a Willow Warbler and a Chiff Chaff.

There were 9 other participants on the course.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Woodhouse Woods today

These were seen in Woodhouse Woods, Wakefield Rd, Copley, earlier today by Michael Sykes

Allium ursinum
Anemone nemorosa

Wednesday, 18 April 2012


Two of us were called by a member of the public who wanted to clean out their small pond at Pellon, but found "lots" of newts in the silt in the bottom. There were no plants whatsover in the pond, and no newts visible, but when we started netting the silt we soon found these, all males and all Palmate Newts. We advised they've left it too late for this year, and should wait till next winter. 

The male can easily be identified in spring by his raised crest which is only on the top of his tail, not his back and tail. Also a feature which only Palmate males have is a little black thread-like appendage to the end of his tail.

Smooth Newt (sometimes called "Common Newt"- a misnomer for Calderdale) has only been known from Cromwell Bottom, at Newt Corner along with Palmates, but this spring has been found high up at Todmorden, near Sourhall, by Charles Flynn. The find of the year - so far!

The internationally threatened, legally protected Great Crested or Warty (as opposed to Smooth) Newt is known from 3 places in Calderdale, all on private land. At least 2 of these sites had them introduced a long time ago on license.

These three were put in a pond nearby where they would be safe.

Unusual triple-egg clutch of Collared Dove

These were laid this month in a spruce in Pellon. They almost always lay just 2 eggs, as do most of the dove and pigeon family. They are always white, a characteristic of eggs laid in dark places, but many of the family build flat platforms of twigs in exposed places. Exceptions in our area - Feral Pigeons and Stock Dove.

I have a Collared Dove nest from Hanson Lane, West Central Halifax, built entirely of electrical wire, various colours, collected in the BT yard opposite. The nest came down with some winter hawthorn tree prunings.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Wildside Walk from Ripponden.

Coprinus micaneus
Lycogala epidendrum - an early record
of this slime mould.

     St Bartholomew's ChurchRipponden

Sarcoscypha austriaca - usually gone by February.  

Mike Sykes joined us for a short time on one of the Calderdale Wildside walks at Ripponden today. There were 14 of us. On his way back he found several fungi and a slime mould. Also the party saw some of the native daffodils near Rishworth and the very reliable Little Owl on Cliff Lane.

Help toads across Calderdale roads

THE council has published a new list of accident blackspots where the victims are amphibious.
Toad crossing points have been identified on six stretches of road, mainly in the upper Calder Valley.
It is a terrifying time for toads because when the weather gets warmer, they have to begin a perilous annual migration to their breeding ponds.
These are often across busy roads where they run the risk of being run over.
Calderdale Council is appealing for volunteers to help carry toads across the roads so they can hop safely into spring.  More...

Friday, 13 April 2012

Integrated Rabbits

I took these 3 pics at Ogden Res yesterday 12th April.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Walk this Saturday

Saturday April 14 thMeet at Ripponden Bowling Green car park for a riverside walk to see genuinely native daffodils and back from Rishworth via Quakers Lane.  
Meet at  SE040196    Map      Part of the Calderdale Wildside Walks.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Roe Deer and Fox

I flushed a pr Roe Deer from a NE Calderdale location and these in turn flushed a Fox from outside it's den. It stands a good chance of repeating last years breeding success, I reckon.

Diurnal Badger

Two of us from the Scientific Society out for a walk in the mid-Calderdale area on Sat. 7th April, saw a badger outside its sett, on a rock, at 14.55. Never seen one except at dusk, or dead by the side of the road, but this one was lively enough, as it soon turned and disappeared down its sett.

Tree Bumble Bee in my garden at Dudwell Lane. A recent colonist from Europe, first identified in 2001. They often have their colony in a bird nest box, as they did here last year.

Birds breeding here: Great Tit in a box, 2 prs Blue Tits ( one in a box, one in a natural tree hole), Dunnock in the privet hedge,
Robins courtship feeding constantly but I can't find the nest, frustratingly,
Greenfinches, 2 prs present - one female was building in a cypress  until a magpie came and disturbed her. (Think she has now changed nest site).
Some bird ate the first Blackbird's egg - probably a magpie. The pulled-up nest lining is a sign of a bird predator. The eggshell was on the veg patch adjacent to the nest.  The Blackbird has built again very low in the opposite beech hedge - 1 egg today.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Deer let loose

This farm in Todmorden has had the fence cut and deer let loose, according to the Courier. This same farm also has muntjac, let's hope these didn't escape as they are a menace in the wild.

Blackthorn at it's Best at Cromwell Bottom LNR

These images, taken yesterday of Blackthorn were sent in by Allan - Many thanks. (Cromwell Bottom WG)

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Velia caprai Water Cricket,03 04 12

Velia caprai - Water Cricket

Hi,had a stroll up Gorpley Clough,lots of the very common Water Crickets,heres a pic of one although only 8mm its only when you look closer and notice they are quite colourful,at rest the two middle legs hardly touch the surface of the water,but as soon as a tasty morsel lands on the water surface those middle legs provide fast propulsion across the surface.regards Bri

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

A Week Apart in Spring

Auricularia auricula-judae

Ogden in March. Temperature 19c

Holmfield on April 4th 2012. Temperature 1c

Monday, 2 April 2012

Birds, etc at Mosleden

I went round Mosleden Quarry, Dean Head, Scammonden today for Marshalls twite monitoring. No public access, unfortunately, but twite records in the vicinity would be welcome. They are happy to start a feeding station, if twite are around.

No twite today, but these species present:
Meadow Pipits - at least 10
Carrion Crow 1
Goldfinches 3 over
Heron over
Curlew pair
Pair Lapwing on sheep land to SW
Partridge (probably grey) 2 together
Pied Wagtail pair
Skylark 1
Magpie pair
Chaffinch 1

Mammals:  Hare 1, moles, vole runs, deer slots in mud.

Twite food - very few dandelions and coltsfoot for early food, but likely to spread.
Much common sorrel and sheep's sorrel for later in the summer.
Much cats-ear for seed later. Various other ruderal plants, e.g mouse-eared chickweed, common dock.
Much rough, broken land with thick grasses and rushes.

Water supply for twite - a few small ponds still holding water after this very dry spell.
Four clumps of frog spawn.

Breeding sites for twite - no wide area of tall heather or bracken, but much planted gorse (more favoured by linnet) and a few small self-seeded pine.

Other notable plants - small amount of sphagnum and various hair mosses, Polytrichium spp, among the grass.