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:
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Sunday, 30 December 2012

Twite update for 2012 - good news at the end.

Though only one birder reported a small breeding colony, there were a few passing groups of Twite in small numbers, at Swalesmoor (above Boothtown) and Soil Hill (near Ogden) notably. (per Dave Sutcliffe.)

Swalesmoor is at SE088276 and Soil Hill is at SE077314.

The RSPB did not organise monitoring of breeding colonies using volunteers this year.

Charlotte Weightman, for the RSPB, continued with the reinstatement of flower-rich meadows project in Calderdale, as in previous years, appealing desperately for volunteers to help complete the seeding of the last fields in between the copious rain of this wettest year on record for England and Wales. Well done to Charlotte and her asistants! Sorry I never got round to lending a hand this year.

Male Twite at Rishworth in April 2011. Would  anyone like to  provide a better picture?

Unfortunately the spread of ryegrass monocultures in Calderdale continues. I notice it particularly in the Greetland/ Stainland Dean area, which could be all down to one wildlife-blind farmer. (They often rent fields at distances from their home farm.) Are there any other black-spot areas  for Twite, flowers and insects anyone has noticed ?

I was invited to monitor Moselden Head Quarry by Marshalls (Hx) Ltd for Twite as they were about to resume quarrying. In 7 visits from March to August I confirmed only one singing male on a wire near the entrance to the quarry on 24th April.

The fields over the road from the entrance are planned to be upgraded for flowering plants to help Twite, though they already support a great many dandelions. This land is owned by Marshalls who have consulted Natural England. Several times flocks of up to 40 Carduelis sp. could be seen and heard feeding here in the mist and rain, but were thought to be all Linnets. I did this as a voluntary job for Marshalls.

Numbers built up at one site in Calderdale, (Derby Delph Quarry,) to about 100 Twite in October. This was to feed on niger seed provided for them. They seem to use the site as a pre- and post-breeding gathering area, according to Tim Walker, who provides the seed and monitors birds there. They must have had a pretty OK breeding season, just as the Tree Sparrows did at Jay House lane.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Waxwings in Brighouse

Here is a short film of waxwings in Brighouse today.

Filmed by Chris Burns. LINK to film

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Fungi at Newt Corner, Cromwell Bottom

Here are a couple of fungi seen at Newt Corner, Cromwell Bottom on Saturday 15th Dec 2012

This Bracket was smooth underneath.

Possibly Artist's Bracket, Ganoderma applanatum. 

Jelly Ear

Auricularia auricula-judae ?

The palest I have ever seen

(can you see the cat)?

Friday, 14 December 2012

Frost melts

But while it lasted, Michael went out with his camera.
Blake Dean was transformed into a winter wonderland.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Saturday's Walk (15th Dec.)

We intend to meet at the appointed place as on the Programme Card, (Membership Card), but vary the route.

Instead of going up Stoodley Glen again, it's proposed that we go up Jumble Hole Clough, nearby, on the opposite side of Calder Valley.

The reason for this is to see the spot at which the rare fungus Violet Coral Clavaria zollingeri has appeared. The only known site in Calderdale is at the top of Jumble Hole Clough, and the only person who knows the spot is Michael, so he is going to show some of us and maybe we can get a GPS fix on it. It probably won't be showing at this time of year, and may not appear every year.

This is a monthly walk and is open to all.

The plan is to meet Michael at the top as he's not up to the walk from the valley bottom at the moment, then go on to the New Delight at Jack Bridge at Colden for a pub lunch.

Meet as per the card 10.30 for 10.45 at Eastwood Cricket Ground on the main Hebden Bridge to Todmorden Road.

Meet Michael at the top (near Hippins House) at 12.00, after making our way up, botanising, fungus foraying and bird watching.

Feel free to meet up at either venue.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Xmas Social Tonight

Among the usual attractions of artifacts and books etc. from our library to look at, there will be a couple of really interesting dead birds on display, found recently in Calderdale :-

The Common Scoter found by Andy Cockroft at Baitings reservoir. (It's been in a freezer.)
And the Great Grey Shrike that was picked up near a window in Southowrham with its prey, a headless Blue Tit.

The Xmas Social  consists of conversation over tea/coffee and cakes. Bring cakes etc to share. Drinks provided.

Downstairs at the Central Library, Halifax 7.15 to 9.00. (No formal Business tonight.)
All welcome.

Today's Mammals

Ogden Res nr Giants Tooth: immature male Roe Deer.
Soil Hill, old Pottery end of Coal Lane: Weasel. Although the latter was seen well  it was just too mobile for a photo.