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

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Id help

I think the bottom pic is Bittersweet/Woody Nightshade but stuck on the top one found in a flooded area of Juncuss near blackshaw head.??

Friday, 24 August 2012

Any Cinnabar Moths/Caterpillars being seen locally ?

Is anybody finding many Cinnabar Moths or Caterpillars Locally in Calderdale this Year,i have seen 1 Moth and Caterpillars in 2 places in the Todmorden area so far this Year on patches of Ragwort,never saw any in 2008 to 2010,found quite a few Caterpillars 2011.regards Brian 

Monday, 20 August 2012

Views along the way last Saturday

The weather was kind to us on the monthly Scientific Society ramble, with the views enhanced by pools of sunlight versus shade in the distance. Dark sweeps of cloud lent Hughesian or Bronte-esque drama to the Pennine scenery. Birds seen included a Peregrine, 2 Kestrels, a Buzzard mewing as it soared above one of the Kestrels on Shackleton Knoll and 8 juvenile Linnets together on wall tops in upper crimsworth Dean.

Loads of other happy walkers were around including a big group from Staffordshire, who "lapped" us twice; once in Hardcastle Crags and again on the Aire-Calder Link path going over the top to Crimsworth Dean.

We passed the Abel Stones, two ancient Christian cross stones or cross bases. The knowledge is lost why they are there as a pair in Crimsworth Dean. Halifax Scientific Society used to record antiquities as well as wildlife/botany until the Antiquarian Society was formed in the early 20thC, and many sites were written up and illustrated in the Halifax Naturalist. The cross stones are at SD 987307, set well above the track under a power line.

Next scheduled monthly ramble is to Soil Hill/ Bradshaw, especially looking at up to 400 Autumn Crocus in the fields at Bradshaw and Holmfield. Meet Riley Lane/ School Lane Junction SE078294. 10.30am for a 10.45 start.  Learn about how much more extensive the crocus fields were said to be in the literature. Leader Bruce.

After that on 23rd Sept. there is a half day visit to Hoofstone Heights, the highest point in Calderdale, with an enigmatic rock carving, plus a stop at Bridestones, which also have historical, geological and climate-change aspects to explore. (Wind erosion during an ice-age when they were not covered.) Meet 10.30am for 10.45 start Mytholmroyd car park. (Next to Russel Deans Furniture SE014260.) This walk isn't in the schedule. Leader - me, but Dave Shepherd the archaeologist has promised to come along if he can.

The walk over the peat up to Hoofstone Heights from  Long Causeway above Todmorden is wet and boggy, but with no really sticky quagmires. Some peatland restoration has been attempted recently so we will be able to see the early results of that.

Stoodley Pike in the distance - both pics in Crimsworth Dean

Abel Cross

Picture supplied by Michael Sykes

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Hardcastle Crags and Crimsworth Dean

Post from Charlie.

Visit to Hardcastle Crags and Crimsworth Dean yesterday.

Here's some of the photos I took yesterday - nothing rare but a good variety.

Many thanks Charlie.

Caloptilia Sp

Two mines of Caloptilia alchimiella or robustella on oak from Crimsworth Dean. One of the larva has vacated the mine and rolled the tip of the leaf in to a neat cone to feed within.

I will have to rear it through to at least the pupal stage to get a precise ID of the species.

 Holly Tortrix   Rhopobota naevana

A Holly Tortrix found during lunch at the foot of Shackleton Knoll in
amongst Bilberry.

Large Skipper  Ochlodes sylvanus

A Large Skipper nectaring on Marsh Thistle showing the full length
of the proboscis.

5 Buzzards

There were five Buzzards over my house in Holmfield at 11:30 today. Only seen one before and then five come together!

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Hardcastle Crags

A reminder that there is a walk in Hardcastle Crags and Crimsworth Dean this Saturday, starting at 10:30 am in the Midgehole carpark, Hebden Bridge (parking fee unless you are a NT member).

Distance approx 5 miles of gentle walking. Bring food/drink. This is one of the Calderdale Wildside Walks and is suitable for children.

We will look at birds, bugs and plants along the way. Walk rating easy/moderate. 

All welcome. Just turn up and join us!  

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Meeting Reminder

Hi all

A quick reminder that there is a meeting in the Fire Station, King Cross, of the Cromwell Bottom Wildlife Group on Wednesday the 15th at 7:15 pm.

All welcome, Refreshments.

Monday, 13 August 2012

A Reminder for Tonight

Tuesday August 14th 2012
Lesley Lomas talks on "Raising Butterflies from Eggs and Caterpillars"
At the Central Library, Halifax at 7:15 pm
Suitable for children and adults

All Welcome

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Lousewort Identification

Brian Leecy posted a picture on 4th August of a pink flower at Blake Dean, asking for any help on id, whether it is Common Lousewort or Marsh Lousewort.
I think it's Common Lousewort, Pedicularis sylvatica, not Marsh Lousewort. The outer part of the flower, the sepal-tube, looks smooth, whereas in Marsh it's downy.
This is from Fitter, Fitter and Blamey. (Collins.)
Even the Common Lousewort is infrequent in Calderdale, according to Frank Murgatroyd's Flora of the Halifax Parish. Recorded previously only from Crimsworth Dean, Broadhead Clough, Luddenden Dean and the Castle Carr Estate. Both species are said to grow on boggy ground.

Marsh Lousewort has only been found once in West Yorkshire in recent years, at Hawksworth Moor, according to Lavin and Wilmore in The West Yorkshire Plant Atlas 1994.
Incidentally, we have several copies of this atlas to give away, having had them donated to the Halifax Scientific Society. All new members with an interest in botany can claim one free. It is a beautiful hard-backed book, on good quality paper, with many distribution maps and some full page colour illustrations.

Sorry for slow response.

P.s. Brian, the beetle you posted a picture of a bit back looked to be on a rare fern for the area, Hard Fern Polystichum aculeatum, but I could be wrong.

Common Lizard Ogden

This cracking picture of a common lizard was seen at Ogden recently by Zbig.

Good record. Many thanks for the post

Friday, 10 August 2012

Ants in your pants!

The ants nests have been erupting with flying ants today in the heat. I noticed it in two different places near Skircoat. At one there were two different species flying from different, adjacent nests.

Dave Sutcliffe mentions it as well on the Calderdale Birds Blog.

I seem to remember an entomologist asking for data on this phenomenon on the Radio 4 Today programme a bit back. Anyone else hear it, or noted ants flying from their nests?

Soil Hill

A quick visit to soil hill at 6 am (no I couldn't  sleep) found nothing much of interest. Skylarks, mipits, Linnets. A few LBBG >W


An atmospheric shot of Thornton was worth the trip though, and a hurried shot of what appears to be a Meadow Brown or Gatekeeper?

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Comma Butterfly

It's 4 years since I saw one of these at Ogden and I've only seen one other in the last 2 years - Oats Royd.

Clouded Yellow Today

Clouded Yellow  Colias croceus  (Flikr Image)

This morning coming out from Tesco King Cross, Halifax in the beds near the entrance for the goods at Tesco Michael Sykes spotted a clouded Yellow butterfly. 

Thanks for the info Michael 

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Black Caterpillar

I found this crawling up Jackson Hill this afternoon. Surprisingly, although I didn't know, the first web image I decided to look up tells me it is Small Tortoiseshell. Anybody know different?

Slime Mould

This is from Mike Sykes. A green slime mould of the enteridium group, high in a dead Oak in Long Wood, Halifax. 

Thanks Michael

Tuesday, 7 August 2012


Nettle patch at Jay House this teatime, mainly Gatekeeper and Small Tortoiseshell and this great looking Broad-Bodied Chaser. Hope I've got the names right.

Ogden this morning

Not a great deal about - even the mallard were in the middle. May be something to do with this unwelcome character!

This mink was still about catching plenty of fish or some other edible. Some of the mallard had chicks and were keeping well away.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Marsh or Common Lousewort ?

Found quite a few clumps in Crimsworth Dean  back in May this year,i havent seen it before in Calderdale,my Wildflow Books a bit limited and seems to suggest Marsh as opposed to Common,would appreciate any i d. regards Brian,ps its the only pic imanaged as it was blowing a gale.

More Ogden Mammals

The Grey Squirrel jumped out of a rubbish bin onto the wall and just stared back at me. About 20 minutes later I caught sight of the Stoat and couldn't believe my luck when it hung around long enough for photos.
Friday 03/08/2012

Friday, 3 August 2012

Oats Royd Saturday

In a visit to Oats Royd I found a large number of Ringlet, Small Skipper, Gatekeeper, and one Tortoiseshell  Butterfly and a hurried shot in blustery wind of a blue damselfly, there were lots of them about and an unidentified fly and this plant. I think its a Sow Thistle?

Sow Thistle
Eristalis nemorum to confirm, on spear thistle

Eristalis nemorum to confirm, on spear thistle
Unidentified fly

Small Tortoiseshell
Blue damselfly





Thursday, 2 August 2012

Meadow Pipit and food

During a walk through Lumbutts and out onto the moors I saw a Meadow Pipit carrying food so it's probably raising a late brood. Nothing unusual about this but does anyone have any ideas on what insect it may have in its beak, some kind of moth perhaps?

Wednesday, 1 August 2012


Having been severely licked by a Bullock and nibbled by a Horse, I was in no mood to let this Mink swing round on my fingers this lunchtime at Ogden Res. It appeared to be diving for some aquatic mollusc on the overflow wall. Thanks to Tony and Nancy from Wibsey, Bradford, for bringing it to my attention.