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

Monday, 28 October 2013

Hardcastle Crags Sunday 27th October

This was from the Soil Hill walk a few weeks ago. It's a water plant - a hornwort from a deep semi-permanent puddle in the track on top of  Soil Hill. Geoffey Willmore of West Yorkshire Ecology confirmed its rarity away from the Wakefield/Leeds lowlands. Ceterophyllum demersum.

 We had a rainy walk in the top end of the Crags on Sunday 27th October.. Some fascinating finds, though, including this striking beetle, Nicrophorus investigator, which was burrowing among rotten fungi at the base of a tree.

 This moss hangs from branches creating a jungle effect. Possibly Hypnum mammilatum.

This erect moss has amazing twiggy branches. "Twangy" moss we called it. There was just this patch.

This beautiful lichen had come down from high in a Sycamore on a dead branch.It had a silvery reverse side.

We saw 2 dead rabbits (1 partly eaten by a raptor), and a dead bank vole very near this feeding site.

One lively Dipper Cinclus cinclus on the river.

Lots of very nice fungi, though mostly spoiled by the rain. See Mycology blog. (Link to the left.)

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Your Support is Needed

Cromwell Bottom Nature Reserve has been placed on a shortlist for a grant from Lloyds Community Fund. Please help us directly by voting online at:-  

then please check your inbox and click on the link.

Many thanks for your support.

Planning Application


I just wanted to inform your members that there is a planning application for a 60 bed 5 story Hotel on Wakefield road at Copley (opposite Lloyds banking group).

I know that this area is used by Deer and that otter have been spotted on the Canal. There will also be a vast number of trees which will be removed.

Here is the link to the application if your members would care to look and make their objections:-

Kind Regards


Monday, 14 October 2013

Speckled Wood Butterfly Caterpillar

                                         It eats grass in my kitchen after I found it in the garden.
                                         You can see one of the two white prongs on its rear end.
                                   I'm hoping it will pupate eventually and emerge as an adult which I will release.
                                                                   Pararge aegeria

Friday, 11 October 2013

Further finds on the Walk to Bradshaw, Ogden and Soil Hill on 6th Sept

Red Admiral Butterfly sipping Bramble juice at Ogden Reservoir
Click once to enlarge picture

Comma Butterfly doing the same
First time I've noticed this behaviour

 Cortinarius thought possibly C. flexipes by finder Steve beside Ogden Res.
Webcaps like this are poisonous. 

Rabbit at entrance to its burrow at Bradshaw

There was a steep south-facing bank near a cottage which had a tangle of wild plants, but with the soil showing through. It was alive with grasshoppers, said to be stridilating, but that's one natural sound I can no longer hear to my great regret. (Too many loud music gigs!)

With thanks to PeachySteve  for taking and forwarding the pictures.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Next Walk is tomorrow, Saturday

Sat Oct 12th    Fungus Foray, Jumble Hole Clough. 
Meet Jumble Hole Road, Sandbed SD970263 at 10:30 am. suitable for children.  

Allow plenty of time to get there - road works. See comment below.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Rare plant in flower on Monthly Society Ramble

This is Hedgerow Cranesbill Geranium pyrenaicum, noticed and identified on the spot by Steve, our friend from Sowerby on the walk on Sunday 6th September. Its flowers are about 15mm  (5/8inch) across.

The only site mentioned in West Yorkshire Plant Atlas (Lavin and Wilmore 1994) is in Halifax -
Bolton (1775) 'At Lower Willow Hall, Skircoat.' Doubtfully native, with a first British record in 1762
(Clapham, Tutin and Warburg, 1962). An uncommon West Yorkshire species recorded very occasionally from hedgebanks, waste ground and field margins.

Steve spotted this - a single plant - on an unmown verge of a farm lane at Bradshaw. SE075306

Great find Steve, from Steve B. Will try and  get to look at your Hypericum at Sowerby Bridge.

Sunday's walk - Bradshaw, Ogden Water and Soil Hill.

One White Ermine larva was seen (above) along with several tawny coloured Buff Ermine larvae no doubt searching for pupation sites.

Steve (from Sowerby Bridge) found these attractive Blue Roundheads near Strine's beck.

Plenty of Magic Mushrooms about - I still haven't plucked up enough courage to try some!

Plums and Custard at Ogden on Pine.

A Parrot Waxcap (I think), from near Strine's beck, Bradshaw.

Not sure about this one from Ogden - either Grisette or Tawny Grisette?

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Fungi in North Dean Woods.

Fungi seen today in North Dean Woods,

and an unusual ladybird

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Brumation--have you heard it before?

I have just received the Woodland Trust e-newsletter and I quote this---

"Amphibians… Frogs and toads enter brumation as the temperature drops. They seek out spots at the bottom of ponds, under stones or logs or bury themselves in leaf litter."

Brumation is a new word for me. A lesser state of hibernation apparently.

Tree Bumblebee nest

Found in a bird box in Holywell Green at the home of Christine Eves, Scientific Society Treasurer, this Tree Bumblebee nest. They seem to like bird boxes as we have seen others this year in other gardens. This one had a solitary live bee in it.
Tree Bumble Bee Bombus hypnorum, which arrived from Europe and was first discovered in Wiltshire in 2001, is one of the commonest in Calderdale Gardens, having spread from the south.
You can see the typical bumble bee nectar cups they fill when they're working the
flowers. They don't thicken the nectar into honey by fanning it with their wings, as honey bees do.