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

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Common Shrew

A cat probably killed this shrew as it was on a lawn near a house. Sorry I forgot to put a size-comparison object beside it. It's slightly smaller than the average adult mouse. There are two other species in Britain, all three being found in Calderdale.

Pigmy Shrew is much smaller, a very small mammal.  It has long back feet. Similar colour to the Common.

Water Shrew is slightly larger, like a hefty mouse. It's blacker above, with a sharply delineated white underside. It can look grey when swimming underwater, due to bubbles trapped in its fur.

Shrews are related to the mole, and like it are eaters of small animals, never taking seeds or vegetable matter. They are very active on land and in the water. It's hard to focus on what they're doing they move so fast. They are also short lived, with multiple generations in a year.

They can be heard squeaking in hedgerows sometimes, as if fighting between themselves. This is so high-pitched, it's said some people can't hear it.

Wren's nest late July

In the hollow under the huge branch, there were at least 2 probably more, small chicks being fed by the adults. The tree is at Blake Dean, above Hardcastle Crags. Clicking on the picture on my laptop enlarges it to see the chick.

Just shows how nests can still be active late in the summer, especially Goldfinches I find.

Any big alterations in gardens including pruning and trimming should be done only after long observation to avoid killing nestlings.

Other birds seen at Blake Dean last Thursday included a male Whinchat and Green Woodpecker.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Lime Trees

The Lime trees on the avenue by our house are in full flower at the moment, the smell is gorgeous and the canopy is buzzing with bees. Limes are a bit of a forgotten tree and maligned because of the honey dew on cars but for summer blossom there is none finer. It is mainly the common lime that produces the honeydew and the epicormic shoots at the base.
Rather a shame that it isn't being planted (as far as I'm aware) in all the many new woodland schemes. I planted 6 small-leaved limes about 18 years ago and they are doing fine, one of them flowered for the first time this year.
They are long lived trees, relaxed about pruning and pollarding and some in the lake district could be over 2,000 years old.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Stone Loving Moth

I found this rather non descript moth in my back garden this afternoon; it never budged while I tried getting a reasonable focus on it.
Can somebody please identify it as I have never seen this species before and don't know where to start.

Monday, 16 July 2012

At last a bit of Summer

We saw two of these Speckled Wood Butterflies in Broadhead Clough on the Halifax Scientific Society monthly ramble on Saturday. Then another in fields above Daisy Bank, Mytholmroyd (surprisingly a few hundred metres away from the nearest woodland). This photo was taken of another at the Ridings, the fields above Jerusalem Farm, yesterday, 15th July
It had become the most regular butterfly last year in my garden next to Bankhouse Wood near Skircoat/Copley, but I've only had one record this year, early on before the rains came.

One Painted Lady Butterfly was in a garden near Saville Park last Thursday, 12th July.

Welcome in the Garden

He was helping me keep down slugs last week.
 Hedgehog Erinaceous europaeus
(One species in Britain - three species in Europe including one probably introduced by man.)

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Big Butterfly Count

Common Blue (Jim Asher)
There is a Big Butterfly Count running from the 14th of July until the 5th of August. For more information and to download a printable I.D. chart visit - Big Butterfly Count

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Ogden to Oats Royd

It was great watching these two Hares this morning and even better to get decent photographs at Back Lane.
I have decided to let the experts determine what this damsel fly species is, found at Oats Royd.There must have been around 10 present. I will however take a gamble with Common Blue?

Also here were pr Broad Bodied Chaser, c5 Ringlet (no obvious rings on 3) and pr Meadow Brown.

Local Nature Partnership for the South Pennines

Dear Colleague

Please find attached information about the second workshop organised as part of the development of a potential Local Nature Partnership for the South Pennines. The workshop, which is free to attend,  will be held on Wednesday 18th July  2012, 1:00pm – 4:00pm  [More info] or look at the flyer here

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Ringlet ?

This at Jay House this morning. Is it a Ringlet without rings ?

Hi David check this link (go to Page 3) there is a ringlet just like yours here

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Gastropod Gastronome

Yesterday evening (Wed) at 2040hrs I watched this brown slug feeding on the black ruptured one. Just wearing reading glasses I could see it's mouthparts moving up and down; pity I couldn't recapture it using the camera.
At 0840hrs today Thursday, there were two black slugs clearing up the last mouthful. Waste not, Want not.

PS Scroll halfway down the page for the most recent Animal Record entries.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

More Fungi - Phallus impudicus

These are the eggs from which the Stinkhorn arises. If you were to put them in a large jar-say a sweet jar with wet tissue in the bottom they would probably turn into a fully erect stinkhorn in around 12-24 hours. Make sure there is a strong top on the jar?/ these were in Longwood ,Calderdale today.
Phallus impudicus eggs © M. Sykes
This weather is a mycologists delight-hot are humid ideal conditions for fungal generation- Keep your eyes peeled for unusual fungi in the next few days
Thanks for the post Michael

Public forests must not be sold, say advisers

Independent advisers appointed by the government say England's publicly owned forest estate is a national asset and should not be sold off.In its final report to ministers, the panel added that woodlands could help "drive a sustainable economic revival". [more]

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Chicken of the Woods, Calderdale

Laeitiporus sulphureous

Chicken of the Woods in Longwood this a.m.

This weather should be wonderful for fungi though there were very few in Longwood. I think you would need very strong teeth for this chicken which was about 20 feet up the tree.


Thanks for the post Michael

Monday, 2 July 2012

Save our Roadside Verges - A Plantlife Campaign

Our Roadside verges are being cut far too early and too often by 75% of Councils in the UK. Please watch this video and sign the petition link.

Road verges are the life-giving arteries of the countryside, linking habitats and acting as vital corridors for wildlife to thrive on. They also represent a remnant of our native grassland which has suffered catastrophic losses over the last century.  Link to sign this petition and help save our verges.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Cantharis fusca 30 06 12

Cantharis fusca 30 06 12
Hi,found this striking Beetle in Ramsden Wood Clough near Ragby Bridge yesterday in between the torrential rain,also as Unbelievably the Sun made a guest appearance a Purple Hairstreak flew in front of me then upto the canopy of some Oaks,the Waterfall looked impressive,but couldnt get any pics as the rain pelted down,still it was great just to be out there.regards Brian