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

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Spider Withens Clough 28-09-13

                                          I think it's an Orb Web Spider (Araneus quadratus)

And Still More

These are by the side of Strines Beck, Bradshaw. The field corner is carpeted with Crocus nudiflorus 

At a guess 300 to 400 blooms. There is a walk to that location on Sunday October 6th - See Header above.

This unidentified fungus is nearby

And even more...

Michael saw these at Withens, Halifax

A good year for these little beauties.

Autumn Crocus excellent year 2013

I just had a call from Sim at Cold Edge to let me know that the crocus up there are excelling themselves this year. He says they are a sheet of purple. They are in the field on the left going up below Withens Gap Farm and visible from the road. Please consider local residents if parking near there.

Autumn Crocus Crocus nudiflorus at Soyland

3 stamens below the Feathery Stigmas

If you think you've found Autumn Crocus, especially if it's in a garden, check that it has 3 stamens ( the straight club-shaped organs below the feathery stigmas, )
If it has six it will be Meadow Saffron Colchicum autumnale, a lily-relative sold by garden centres as "Autumn Crocus", which is poisonous and not to be used for saffron.

There are 37  known sites where the true Autumn Crocus grows, mostly in fields and along riversides in Calderdale.
They are spread between Elland, along the Ryburn valley,  North Halifax, the mid-Calder area, especially Luddenden Dean, and then, after what appears to be a gap around Hebden Bridge, they pop up again at Todmorden. Many were re-found  or newly-discovered recently with the help of HSS survey volunteers and members of the public.

We've lost some at Brearley, near the river Calder, which could still be there; also there are several other missing patches.

The 2010 booklet, with history of the plant and map-references to sites, is available from Halifax Scientific Society. ( See panel at the top.)

Any better photos than mine would be very welcome - I could put them on this blog.

Friday, 27 September 2013

Shaggy Ink Cap

Found in Shaw Park, Holywell Green.  There is a patch of at least half a dozen, this was the largest yesterday.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Seen locally

This caterpillar was on Buddleia
Bracket fungi at Ogden

Autumn Crocus Crocus nudiflorus - Bradshaw

All seen yesterday near home. 

The Caterpillar was on Buddleia in my garden and the Autumn Crocus was at Bradshaw Church. There were at least 14 spikes, some had gone over, most were still in bud. 

The fungus was in large numbers on decaying wood at Ogden L.N.R.

A reminder that we will be visiting these crocus, possibly hundreds, nearby in Holmfield - on Sunday October 6th. See Header notice.

Friday, 20 September 2013

Garden Blackcap

A male Blackcap was feeding in a Hebden Bridge Garden on 18th Sept. (per Bel Hale.)

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

At Last, my first for the year.

Painted Lady. Vanessa cardui 

This Painted Lady hung around for awhile in our garden, our first this year.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Great view of a Common Lizard

On the last warm sunny afternoon the day before this first "blow" of the autumn brought wind and rain across the UK, some of us were inWithens Clough and Nigel spotted this Common Lizard basking on a wall, mid-afternoon. (Zootaca vivipara, formerly Lacerta vivipara.)

They seem to be on most of our uplands / upland fringes. No records come from woodland or valley bottoms, though sometimes people mistake newts in the valleys for lizards.

The area most records of lizards come from is around Blake Dean, but this could be partly due to the area being popular for days out.

We don't get the other native lizard, Sand Lizard Lacerta agilis, in Calderdale. The nearest site for that is Ainsdale Dunes, on the west coast. It's on my list of native species to see, as I've only seen it abroad, and in an open-air reptilarium in the New Forest, Hampshire.

I'd love to receive any reptile, newt / amphibian records as I am Herptile Recorder for Halifax Scientific Society. Thanks to Nigel for spotting this as we were all about to pass it, weary after a day in the field looking for mosses and liverworts with Johnny Turner.

Nigel is off to Malta today to help in the human shield protecting migrating raptors, etc from the law-breaking Maltese shooters who carry on with impunity while their government turns a blind eye.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Garden Produce

Had lettuce and tomatoes home grown here for lunch, and as I was cooking courgettes and peas also from outside this evening, I was distracted by this very active moth inside the window.

Looks like a Garden Carpet Xanthoroe fluctuata according to my Complete British Insects ( Chinery 2005 in Collins Books ). It attracted me by its smart contrasting markings. Would have found it quicker if I'd known to look in the 'carpet' group! It was quite a small moth, and when I released it on the outside of the window, there was another, this one a bit less 'contrasty.'

Its food plants are crucifers, cultivated and wild. I've got plenty of those - cabbages and brocolli full of holes - rocket helpfully self-seeding all over, and weeds like Thale Cress. I don't fuss about weeds too much these days. Crucifer comes from 'cross'. All the plants in this huge family have four-petalled flowers, making a cross shape.

Above - Garden Carpet  ? - Halifax

You don't often get an apple with a 'worm' in it these days, probably because the growers spray everything that flies and crawls. These tunnels in my crab-apples might have been made by Codlin Moth larvae? (Cydia pomonella.) They were the first to fall off the tree. I'll have a look on the tree tomorrow and see if I can spot any mis-shapen ones that might still have a larva inside.

I'm prepared to be corrected on my identifications. . . . . .

Monday, 9 September 2013

Wildlife photography

Wildlife photography competition

Single Image Display

Your chance to have your photograph displayed at Leeds City Museum AND win some great prizes.

Earlier this year Sara Porter photographed our taxidermy, insect, egg and skull collections for the ‘Natural Beauty, Part 1’ display at Leeds City Museum. We now want to put your wildlife photographs on display at the museum.

Any age, any camera, any ability… everyone’s welcome.


Thursday, 5 September 2013

Ryburn Valley -Fruits of the morning 05-09-13

Michael and I had a walk up the valley and these were a few of the things we found!

Acorns with a species of gall. 

A pretty frame of fungi around an Autumn Crocus.

Autumn Crocus (Crocus nudiflorus). 

Michael's photos above and mine of the Shield Bug below.

I think this may be a Red-Cross Shield Bug (Elasmostethus cruciatus) which I found at home later.