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, 31 March 2014

Grass for ID please

Whilst traipsing around on Erringden moor this morning Philip's earlier post on grasses came to mind when I came across several clumps of this grass in flower. I suspect it will be well known to the botanists out there?

Saturday, 29 March 2014


My first Chiff-chaff of the year turned up in Sunnybank wood Todmorden this afternoon.

Also first Meadow Foxtail grass (Alopecurus praetensis) in flower. This grass is always the first one to flower in Todmorden and invariably occurs the last week in March, closely followed by Sweet Vernal (Anthoxanthum odoratum) after a week or two. Anyone wishing to know grasses should start at this time of year when you are guaranteed to get the identity correct of two of them!

Friday, 28 March 2014

This Saturday and Sunday

Mar 29th      River Watch Day.    A chance to see Otter and Kingfisher whilst counting wildlife throughout the day.  Meet up after to collate lists in a warm hostelry.  Plan your picnic in advance. Meet in the Anglers car park at 10:30 am
And on March 30th (Sunday) Amphibian watch day. Meet at Cromwell Bottom N.R. at 10:30 to look at all the ponds.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Bumblebee ID training session in Centre Vale Park Todmorden

Records of bumblebees are desperately needed for Calderdale and the surrounding areas in order to determine the impacts of climate change and disease on these attractive and highly beneficial insects. Bumblebees provide vital pollination services to growers, gardeners and wildplants as well as being a sure sign that spring is on its way. Please come along and learn how to identify the species that are known to live in Calderdale, who knows, once you are trained up, you may discover a species new to the area! The training will be provided by an expert from the Bumblebee Conservation Trust. Places are limited, so booking is essential.

The session will be held on the 7th May at 9.45 for 10am start, lunch will be at 12.30 where you will need to provide your own lunch. After Lunch there’ll be a walk around the park to put your new skills to the test.

This will be the end of the training session but if any ones interested they can join the 2pm Bee walk to Stanally stones, part of the Action for Bees in Calderdale project.  

Please contact to book the bee ID training session

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Toads on the Move

As most of you will know, toads start to move to their historic breeding ponds at this time of year, especially on warm and wet evenings.  There are places where they have to cross or travel along roads and groups of people gather to pick up the toads into a bucket and transport them to a safe location.
The first reports are in:
First sightings of toads were at Shurcrack/ Shepherds Rest then Gordon and Eileen had some at Lumbutts but after that there was a lull due to the colder weather. Come the 7th of March it picked up again starting with a toad found in Cheryl's courtyard at Woodhouse staring back at her from a hole! Carolyn saw some activity too nearby and Portia found some dead on the road at Pexwood but then a few days later found seven male Toads, six newts and frogs all un-squashed. Finally Christine at Rodmer Clough, Colden rescued several in the morning and Steve found his first toad of the year, at Thornhill Lane.

If you are interested in getting involved and helping a toad across the road the sites and their coordinates are as follows –
Todmorden – Portia - 01706-816698
-              Heather Bank Road
-              Tennis Pond (Stansfield Hall Road)
-              Dobroyd Road / Pexwood Road
-              Golf Course Pond
-              Bottomley Road
-              Shurcrack Farm / Lumbutts Road
-              Lumbutts
-              Woodhouse Road
-              Portsmouth Dam, Cornholme

Hebden Bridge – Betony –
-              Horsehold / Hebble End
-              Hebden Hey / Lee Wood Road
-              Stubbings

East Calderdale – Steve Blacksmith -
-              Washer Lane, Sowerby Bridge
-              Copley
-              Thornhills Beck Lane, Brighouse

For any more info please contact - 

Sunday, 23 March 2014

A Bird Day

Two Golden Plover flying together over Flints Moor crossed Turvin Clough in the direction of Whiteholme Res area.
Also 1 Skylark
         1 Meadow Pipit
          1 Snipe
           2 Red Grouse.
Earlier in the day a Little Owl on the usual wall below Ringstone Res for 6th year in a row in spring, and a pair of Nuthatches and a single Treecreeper in the valley bottom between Ripponden and Rishworth.

Monday, 17 March 2014

Tawny Owls in long term decline

Field voles populations are stable. They used to fluctuate wildly and glut years let the tawny owls breed. Owls will slowly die out over the next decades. This vole stability is the same all over Europe and is linked to environmental change. Read the article here

Hollins Mill Lane, Sowerby Bridge 16.03.2014

Wall Pennywort (Umbilicus rupestris) seen by Michael yesterday.

Colden Clough 14.03.2014

Michael and I witnessed lots of springtime activity on our walk up the clough.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Fungi on dead cherry

My old cherry tree has now another fungi

I cannot see this in Philips, any idea?

This one of the many and varied slime moulds (Myxomycete)

Thanks for the information Alison

Monday, 10 March 2014

Grayling (the fish)

I've been interested in grayling from my angling days when I was a lad and was wondering if there is anywhere in Calderdale where they can be seen/photographed?  I'd be especially interested in a location where they are actually caught by anglers for a 'out of water' close up photo.
Somewhere down the line I have heard of places in the Calder where they are to be found (Mytholmroyd area I think and somewhere else, but can't remember), but am wondering, as they are very sensitive to pollution, if they are still present.
I used to watch them from the old bridge in Bakewell (Peak District), but have not seen them there for a few years now.

Many thanks, Chris.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Invasive Plants - presentation and survey

Hugh Firman, Conservation Officer with the Countryside Service sends this invitation to Naturalists in the Calderdale area:

On Wednesday 19th March at 7pm Jon Dunster from Yorkshire Wildlife Trust will be giving a presentation on invasive plant species. Jon has an in-depth knowledge of species of plants which threaten our native flora.

Jon will also discuss how you can become involved in a project he is heading up, which aims to map the distribution of invasive species in the Calder area.

The venue is The Mereside Cafe at Shibden Park. This is the modern cafe at the bottom car park, not the one at Shibden Hall.

Please book a place by emailing 

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Male Eider on Rochdale Canal at Walsden.

Kathy and I had superb views of this beautiful duck this afternoon. (Sunday 2.3.14)   Pictures over on Calderdale Birds Blog. (Link at the top.)

I don't remember any previous records for this species in Calderdale.