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, 29 November 2012

Results of the AGM and the fate of the Library

Fifteen attended; not an unexpectedly low number for a November meeting on a cold night and considering it was the AGM.
    Dr Paul Ruffle of Jodrell Bank and Manchester University was elected President. He lives at Mytholmroyd. Two other people were elected new members.
All the other existing officers and recorders accepted nomination and were re-elected.
   We looked at about 50 slides from Frank Murgatroyd's collection of about 1500!
I had found some pictures of past members as well as orchids of Britain; views in Calderdale, Cumbria and Wales; historic buildings in Calderdale; fungi and ferns. Just some of the many things represented in Frank's collection of slides.

The following night, Wednesday, I went to shout at the demonstration outside the Town Hall against the library demolition. I even got a ticket to go in and witness the full Council Meeting. The public area was full.
Unfortunately, as expected, the minute "to relocate the library in a new building adjacent to the bottom edge of the Piece Hall, next to Square Chapel" was passed. ( Not the official wording.) Several Councillors spoke passionately in favour of renovating the existing building, to loud applause and cheers from the public and other councillors, but to no avail. There was feeble applause for those speaking in favour of demolition - they knew they had the majority.

This could take many years to take place. (The Broad Street Development took 20!) And the Economic situation could change or some other factor come in to delay or alter the decision.

The proponents of the scheme think they have given the opponents a big consession by saying the lending library and the archives will now be kept together in the same building, and not seperated, as once proposed, but they are completely  vague about the archives. They never refer to the 3 collections: the Archives of Halifax in the Reference Library; the books/archives of Halifax Antiquarians, and last but not least, the archives and books of Halifax Scientific Society. Apparently one councillor looked at our book cases and assumed these was the whole of the the three collections!
The Library Archivist told me there are over 3,000,000 items in their collection alone, on the top floor of the library.

Anyway, many of us may not see it happen. We must be stoical and keep on meeting, recording and reporting on scientific subjects including Natural History while keeping our options open about the future. We survived a major upheaval in the early 1980s when our predecessors moved everything down from the old Central Library at Belle Vue near Peoples Park. We can survive this as well.
Steve Blacksmith, Chair.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

The Halifax Scientific Society A.G.M - Reminder

Our Annual General meeting will be held at the Halifax Central Library this Tuesday the 27th of November 2012 at 7:15 pm

All Welcome

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Pictures from the HSS monthly walk on Sat. 17th

Looking East from Pudsey Clough towards Todmorden. Stoodley Pike just visible. 

All pictures of Pudsey Clough

Viburnum bodnantense in its November glory. Flowers all winter 
and has a gorgeous scent. This is at Back Rough Farm, by the track.

A waterfall, name unknown, and a Wych Elm, not yet leafless.

Winter sun.

Not many birds about, but Raven seen well and its "pruck pruck" call heard; nuthatch down here in the valley. I  found a singing male Ring Ouzel up by the quarry once in spring.  It's the most mountainous corner of Calderdale.
The stream was strongly coloured with peat as it poured through the cylindrical stone culvert under the quarry track. This is a rare type of construction in the Pennine Hills .Only 2 people on the walk.

A big Waxwing winter ?

Ten are feeding at Brighouse, in Sainsbury's car park. I'm just going along there now.
Watch out for them on any berried trees and shrubs. They especially like urban plantings.

UPDATE: Still there Tuesday morning 19th Nov. according to a text from Dave Sutcliffe.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Saturday's Walk

Pudsey Clough is at the furthest western edge of Calderdale.

If anyone is daunted by the distance and would like a lift, there will be pick-up points outside the Central Library in Halifax, and Russel Dean's Car Park in Mytholmroyd.

Ring me on 01422 348222 or mobile 0771 500 5379 to arrange lifts.

We will be walking only about 3 miles exploring the deep cloughs always on paths, some slighty wet and slippy, and some steep.

There will be opportunities to foray for fungi, view the unusual goeology in the form of steep cliffs and dramatic rock outcrops, and see the woods of native trees, where I have seen Spotted Flycatcher nesting. There may be wintering as well as native birds about. Part of the way takes us out on to the open tops, as far as Burnley Old Road (Long Causeway) and back down to Cornholme.

Bring a packed lunch and something damp-proof to sit on. Meet on the Burnley Rd. at 10.30 for a 10.45 start.


Not a rare bird but the first record for my house today

Friday, 9 November 2012


Waxwings are now well into the country and several have been seen locally, so keep your eyes and ears open. It may be a bumper year here this winter as their food sources in Scandinavia have been very poor.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

The Future for the Halifax Scientific Society

Re my previous post (below) There is a long response on the Courier Website to the front page news in the Courier last Friday.

It's from  Anne Kirker, Secretary of Halifax Antiquarian Society, with whom we share the meeting rooms at the Central Library.

She is leading the DBOL Campaign - "Don't bulldoze our library". they have a website but when I searched I just got a site selling performance enhancing drugs for athletes.

I did find it by searching for " Calderdale don't bulldoze our Library."

She writes a long and very well reasoned argument against the way the survey was done for the Council by IPSOS Mori about their plans to knock down the Central Library.

If you can't find it, or don't have time to read it all, can I pick out her closing paragraph, and second her suggestions.

“For the rest of us, our only way of influencing proceedings will be to go to the Cabinet Meeting on 12 November and the full council meeting on 28 November and make our views known. And in the meantime, we can write to our own councillors urging them to stop this madness.”

I will certainly be going along.

I have written to my three Local Councillors, plus two I know of in other wards and Halifax's MP Linda Riordan (Her email is

You can get your Councillors' emails off the Calderdale Council Website.

In other parts of England, Councils have been reported to the Local Government Ombudsman for failing to comply with their statutory duties to provide adequate library facilities, and are under judicial review. (Somerset is one I heard of.)

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Bad News from Calderdale Council

Front Page of the Courier last night.

Even though we have had our library in the lecture rooms since the current library was built, having moved it from the first Central Library, at Lister Lane near People's Park, and despite representations to them, they have announced that the library is to close and be replaced with a new building below the Piece Hall.

We still don't know if there will be accommodation for our books in the new library.

The Halifax Antiquarian Society has been similarly ignored.

We have been very generously offered a meeting room at Dean Clough, if we need it, but not space for our books. Meeting there would not be without its problems for members who come in by bus.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

New Autumn Crocus Site

Had a hunch there might be some in St John's Churchyard, Rishworth and there are ! Just five blooms today, closed up. They're at the base of a small Rowan tree on the right of the path going up to the church from the bottom entrance on Godley Lane. SE034179

There are also some in St. John's Churchyard, Bradshaw.

Ryburn Valley is one of the richest areas for the plant, with currently 14 sites, three of which have not been refound, though one of these was reported recently without exact directions.

It's said in the records to be "In a field adjacent to Goat House." This is apparently attached to the Royal Pub. (now Malt House?) But I havn't been able to get into a field adjacent.

There is a lower Goat House on the bottom side of the Oldham Rd.but I don't think this is the house.  I could be wrong.