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, 24 February 2013

Crocus Sweep Today

The Crocus in question is the Autumn Crocus Crocus nudiflorus. Spring is a good time to search for the patches, as the leaves that come up then are often more prominent than the blooms. Calderdale is particularly well endowed with it, though it is still elusive. This is a patch of leaves that hasn't produced a bloom in autumn in the three years since I found it. It's on the edge of the Ryburn stream, on the left bank, 69 paces down from the footbridge at Kebroyd. The leaves are grass-like, but have a pale central stripe. 
I've produced a booklet for the Halifax Scientific Society  - "The Mystery of the Autumn Crocus".

Old farmsteads around Calderdale often bear long-lapsed invitations to "Teas", often on the stone slab roof, but I've not noticed this one before on a rock by the footbridge at Kebroyd. Looks like there was an arrow underneath the sign.

This Red Fox was hunting in a field, where it might have found worms or small mammals, but it didn't seem to eat anything. It was midday ! Must get a proper camera with manual focus.

The next two are of Rough Hey Wood, near the old railway track to Ripponden/ Rishworth.
They show how holly Ilex aquifolium is colonising rapidly under the oaks Quercus petraea and sycamores Acer pseudoplatanus, as can also be seen in Park Wood, Elland and other places. I think this is just re- balancing of the normal situation, where holly makes a secondary layer. Being evergreen, it can get the sun's energy before the deciduous trees leaf out.
It was probably removed centuries ago to feed stock in winter (they eat it when it's crushed) and to create "greenwoods" where grass was the ground cover, which was grazed. Ref. the title of the poem "Under Milk Wood". Greenwood as a surname was originally confined to Calderdale.

 For fungi seen on the walk see the Calderdale Fungi blog.

Help please

Can anyone recomend a book / map or is there a web site for the Calderdale way..and if any one has done it how long does it take...

Friday, 22 February 2013

Species Updates

Chris Sutcliffe, Calderdale Council's area countryside officer is currently updating species lists of all flora and fauna recorded at the sites listed below.

Ogden Water
Any info on any species in any of the following areas would be very helpful in shaping future management.

Beacon Hill
Beechwood Park
Cunnery Wood
Long & Scarr Woods
Mixenden/Wheatley Valley
Shelf Hall Wood
Snake Hill
Sun Wood, Shelf

Chris would be grateful for any information received.  A simple species only list will be good, but if you can supply dates as well, then that would be a real bonus.

Many thanks

Chris Sutcliffe
Area Countryside Officer
Calderdale Countryside Service
Communities Directorate

Monday, 18 February 2013

Ancient woodland may have lost out

In this blog from the Woodland Trust, it seems in the Government's response to the Forestry Report, Ancient Woodland is not to be allowed to stand in the way of development.

"The areas of investment will be research in mitigation and compensation…."

It's like Wilfrid Pickles in "Have a Go",  'Give him the money Mabel'  (Only people of a certain age will understand this reference.)

First Butterfly

Things must be stirring;  Tortoiseshell butterfly flew onto our picnic table today at Sunnybank, Todmorden and basked in the sun.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Great Spotted Woodpecker

Not the best photo in the world, but this male Great Spotted Woodpecker visits my garden several times a day to feed on my home-made suet block. 

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Pithya vulgaris

Michael Sykes took this picture of the rare fungus Pithya vulgaris, common name "Fir Disco", which was shown at last nights meeting of the Halifax Scientific Society. 

Many thanks Michael

More pictures on our fungi blog  scroll down to 30th January 2013 or direct to the post here.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Hibernating Moth

This moth was found in Shelf on a piece of PLY on Saturday. Any ideas as to species?

Now identified as a Herald.
Thanks Nick.

Friday, 8 February 2013

Read the Government's Forestry Policy Statement

The government has just released its full statement on its response to the independent Forestry Panel report. Just click on the link in this Woodland Trust newsletter.  It makes a good read.

Friday, 1 February 2013 - online campaign good news

Dear Steve,

Yesterday, after months of deliberations – we have the final, official word from the government that they will do what more than half a million of us asked them to – and protect our nation’s forests for good.

Congratulations! We’ve really, truly, won.

It was a political defeat, and victory for people power they never saw coming.

Click here to see how we made it happen, and then share this image on Facebook:

In late 2010, the government announced a plan to introduce a new law to allow all publicly owned woodlands to be sold off in the future.

The government might have expected a few predictable protests, but there was nothing predictable about what happened next.
  • 538,107 people signed the 38 Degrees petition

  • More than 100,000 of us contacted our MPs

  • We funded an independent poll, which found 84% of the public wanted our forests in public hands

  • Thousands raised nearly £60,000 to pay for ads in national newspapers

  • More than 30 local campaigning groups sprung into action around the country

  • Over 220,000 of us helped spread the word on social media
When the government finally did admit they got it wrong, they promised to set up an independent forestry panel to advise them on what should be done next.

Again, 38 Degrees members sprang into action:
  • 34,000 of us wrote to the panel to tell them what we wanted for our woodlands’ future - more that 80% of all the responses they received

  • We gathered in places all over the England, to take pictures and discuss our ideas

  • A big group of 38 Degrees members brought all our ideas, as well as our top three priorities, to a public meeting with the panel in September 2011
And the Independent Panel on Forestry was critical.

They found the government had "greatly undervalued" the benefits woodlands provide for people, nature and the economy. They then called for forest policy to be held in public trust for the entire nation, shielded from political interference – with one member saying, “the tree cycle is wholly different to the electoral cycle.”[1]

So here we are today, more than two years after our campaign began – and the government has at last, quietly issued an official announcement confirming that they won't try selling off England's forests again.

That means we’ve done it. Our forests are safe, for good.

It’s thanks to all the people who fought so hard – including over half a million 38 Degrees members – that our beautiful forests and woodlands are now safe for generations to come.

Click here to share the good news, and tell others how people power saved our forests:

Together we should all feel incredibly proud about the part we played in saving England’s wonderful forests and woodlands. Please forgive the long email – but moments like these don’t happen every day. Again, thank you.

David, Hannah, Belinda and the 38 Degrees team

P.S: 38 Degrees takes no money from government, political parties or corporations – and with very little budget we hold politicians accountable 365 days each year. If you’d like to make a financial contribution to that, please chip in here:

[1] The Guardian, “No sell-off of forests, promises Caroline Spelman”: