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.
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Sunday, 29 June 2014

Turvin Clough 27.06.2014

This juvenile Jay (Garrulus glandarius) nearly landed on Basil and myself as we walked up the clough. It flew down right in front of us and landed making lots of noise. At first I thought it might be a parent bird protecting its young as it was jumping and squawking so much. It showed no fear of us at all and flew back up to this branch and sat very happily and I was able to take some photographs. With it behaving like this, its days may be numbered as it would make an easy meal for any predator.

Small Balsam (Impatiens parviflora). The is a small patch of this near Church Bank Lane. It looks very similar to Himalayan Balsam but is much smaller and has pale yellow flowers. 

Friday, 27 June 2014

Hen Harrier Skydancer project

Bid for lottery funding

Will you help us save the hen harrier?  More information here:

Direct link to vote:

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Common Cow-wheat - Milner/Beestones Wood

I noticed Common Cow-wheat (Melampyrum pratense)
growing in the lower part of Milner and Beestones woods a few weeks ago.
 I went back today to see if I could catch them in flower

A delicate plant with yellow trumpet shaper flowers
growing in pairs from the leaf axils

When I've seen this before there have been a few scattered plants

In this wood they stretch on and on

 On the far side of the wood I found some Lesser Stitchwort (Stellaria graminea)
This seems to be the last of the stitchworts to come into flower

 Petals are deeply divided

 The long thin stems and narrow leaves make this hard to see among the grass

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Long Lane, Sowerby Bridge 24.06.2014

Peachysteve and myself found this very attractive Elephant Hawk-moth resting on the grass at the side of the lane. At first we thought it was dead because the piece of grass appeared to be growing through its thorax but it was just buried within its thick body hair. We also disturbed a Yellow Shell moth in the hay meadows above.

Yellow Shell (Camptogramma Bilineata). 

Elephant Hawk-moth (Deilephila elpenor).

My photos above and Steve's below.

Recent finds at Copley Redevelopment Site

I went yesterday to see if I could find the Common Centaury
I've seen in previous years.
I couldn't find them in the usual place but found some elsewhere.
Once my eye was in I found that there were many exactly
where I had searched earlier without success.

Common Centaury (Centaurium erythraea)

Ali was leaving as I got there and directed me to the Bee Orchids
which were great to see

On the way back I saw that the pansies had appeared again.
Mountain Pansy (Viola lutea)

I often see Monkey Flowers in this area but had never noticed
this massive stand of them by the weir.

 Hybrid Monkeyflower (Mimulus guttatus x luteus = M. x robertsii)

Other interesting finds;
A number of Narrow Leaved Ragwort which has very narrow leaves and purple tipped bracts

Narrow-leaved Ragwort (Senecio inaequidens)

Common Cudweed (Filago vulgaris) very small but all over the site

A large daisy with pointed toothed leaves

This large showy daisy is a garden escape with a superb Latin name

Shasta Daisy (Leucanthemum x superbum)

Monday, 23 June 2014

Sowerby Bridge 23.06.2014

I managed to find five Bee Orchids today that were intact, unspoilt and looking gorgeous in the sunshine.

Bee Orchid (Ophrys apifera).

Fly necromancy

At Leighton Moss bird hide, I noticed the usual dozens of dead flies on the inside window ledge. But there was just one fly still alive and very active. It ran around the ledge searching for its dead companions and then deliberately jumped on each one and 'hugged' them. It particularly was obsessed with green coloured flies as it jumped on these with particular relish and proceeded to wrestle with them. All its legs were wrapped round the dead fly and it rolled over with it clasped in its legs, before moving on to the next corpse. The few wasp corpses were tiptoed round; it certainly didn't jump on these!

What was going on?

Cromwell Bottom Open Day

I went to the Cromwell Bottom open day on Saturday.
I saw a number of plants I had not seen before locally.

 So many Orchids I could not start to try and identify them.

The delicate and vividly pink/red Grass Vetchling (Lathyrus nissolia)
which Ali directed me too.

Hop Trefoil (Trifolium campestre)
This has a much larger flower head than Lesser Trefoil (Trifolium dubium)

It can also be distinguished by the terminal leaflet having a long stalk.

Creeping Cinqufoil (Potentilla reptans)

Eyebright - probably (Euphrasia nemorosa)

I parked a distance from Cromwell Bottom
in order to give the dogs a walk before I arrived.
On my way back down the canal I came across this colourful Bindweed.
 Pink Bindweed (Calystegia sepium subsp. roseata)

A variant of Hedge Bindweed as can be seen by the non overlapping bracteoles

Also visible in the above image are hairs on the petiole which distinguish this from
Calystegia sepium forma colorata

 Finally, the shape of the space between the leaf lobes
as well as the bracteoles helps to distinguish this from Calystegia pulchra
a bindweed with similar flowers more akin to Large Bindweed (Calystegia silvatica)

Dusky Crane's-bill - Fiddle Wood Mill Bank

I came across more Dusky Crane's-bill (Geranium Phaeum)
While walking the dogs recently.

The mature leaves have dark blotches at the bases of the lobes.

This is the second location I have seen this.
Has any one else seen it in Calderdale?

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Carr Lane, Hebden Bridge, 18.06.2014

Viper's-bugloss (Echium vulgare) - above and below.

 Common Vetch (Vicia sativa) above and below.

Columbine (Aquilegia vulgaris).

Fox-and-cubs (Pilosella aurantiaca).

Selfheal (Prunella vulgaris) - above and below.

Hedge Woundwort (Stachys sylvatica) - above and two below.

The Chinese Bramble and the Two-spot Ladybird were found on the tow path just off Moderna Way.

Chinese Bramble (Rubus tricolor) - above and two below.

Two-spot Ladybird (Adalia bipuncta).