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.
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Friday, 31 July 2015

Writing Competition 2015 - on the Natural Environment in Calderdale.

Linda Kingsnorth has won the Field Guide of her choice in the writing competition. With many thanks to the other two entrants, whose pieces were excellent, giving us much food for thought.

You can read all three entries by scrolling down to my June 20th post.

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Unidentified Moth

Found at Baitings this evening. Closest  I can find is Heart and Club,  but . . .
that is 15 - 20mm, whereas this was 25 - 30mm.

Can any one help?

P.s. I'm thinking it can't be that - I read in Yorkshire Butterflies and Moths 2014 that it lives on dry calcareous areas.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Caterpillars found on the Archaeology Walk on 25/7/15

We saw two of these close together on Midgley Moor on Saturday.

They didn't immediately strike me as being like Oak Eggar Moth caterpillars, which I have identified before, but it seems that is what they are. 

The others were more uniformly brown as I remember.

There is a picture of an adult male Oak Eggar lower down. Our sub-species is apparently Northern Oak Eggar.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Archaeology Walk this Saturday 25th July

See addition to the post below (with a picture of deer).


The following day on Sunday 26th July I will be leading  a walk at Cromwell Bottom Local Nature Reserve.

It is our Annual local Big Butterfly Count,
                  (but through the day, not for 15 minutes in your garden like David Attenborough's                                Big Butterfly Count, though that is well worth getting involved with too.)

Meet at the car park at 10.30 for 10.45. Bring a packed lunch and spare warm clothing. Insect repellent is strongly advised against the biting flies. The walk will go on till about 3.30pm.

This is a Wildside Walk in conjunction with Calderdale Countryside Department.


Report on the walks above.

They both went well. There were 7 on the Archaeology one on Midgley Moor. All men!
All the features that Dave Shepherd wanted to show us were found and were quite visible.
The witticism of the day was that if a feature in the landscape had no explanation, it was still "a good example of its kind".

The butterfly walk at Cromwell Bottom was surprisingly sunny and we got quite a few butterflies of 5 species in the morning. Gatekeeper (both sexes) Small Skipper, Ringlet, Meadow Brown and one Peacock. Probably about 35 to 40 individuals seen.

There were 21 of us on that, most having got the details out of the Wildside booklet. Quite a few children were there, bringing their excitement with them, including some with a young Polish family who were very interested. Three came down from the Todmorden (UCWN) group.

It rained as we were finishing the picnic at lunchtime and all wanted to go home, which was fair enough, as the forecast was for it to set in.

The grasses were not so spectacular this year, except the Reed Sweet-grass along the canal side. The flowering rush was not flowering as it has done before at this time.
Again we saw some of the red-listed Luronium natans, the Floating Water-plantain, uprooted by water traffic in the canal.

                                                                             The unique paired standing stones on Midgley Moor

Part of the group setting out to count butterflies at Cromwell Bottom

Female Gatekeeper Butterfly

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

A comment added to the post below, worth putting up as a post itself.

Blogger Finlay Duncan said...
Hi Philip, excellent resource for the Halifax area!
Was hoping your organisation and members can help us protect nature in Europe. The European Commission's looking at reviewing the Birds and Habitats Directives, the very laws that have increased the numbers of many at-risk bird and animal species in Europe and that have led to the creation of thousands of conservation sites around the EU.
We think these important laws should be safeguarded, not undermined! A public consultation on the issue closes this Friday and we're trying to get everyone to have their say. More information is available here: - every voice counts!
22 July 2015 at 15:07

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Himalayan Balsam

Does any one know if the seeds of Himalayan Balsam are spread by mammals (or birds)?

Yesterday I was pulling some Balsam from an area that has been mostly eradicated of it over previous years. The only ones left are not the usual individuals but widely separated clumps comprising individuals of up to a dozen within a few inches square of ground.
I have never seen it grow like this and it looked as though a rodent may have stashed quantities of seed. It certainly made it easy to pull the lot in one go!

This may be a reason why Balsam suddenly appears in new places where there is non nearby.

I have googled this query and can find no reference to animals or birds eating the seeds. I can't believe this doesn't happen--but why has it not been recorded?

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Magical Lecture this Tuesday 7.15pm

SB Photo

As a follow on from Dave's talk , (below) he is leading us on a walk on Midgley Moor to see signs of early occupation of the moor in the form of  standing stones and earthworks.                                                 This is on Saturday 25th July.
Meet at 10.30 for 10.45 at Clough Cottages, on the end of High House Lane, Midgley. There is some parking, but not unlimited. Grid ref. SE028279. It will be over rough land off the paths. Bring packed lunch and spare warm clothing.

Dave Shepherd, our Archaeologist friend from Heptonstall, gave us an illustrated talk on Tuesday 14th July.

His subject was

                                     BEFORE THERE WAS YORKSHIRE

My photo taken recently is a fawn and a doe Roe Deer at Hardcastle Crags.
Click to get a larger image.

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Luddenden Dean

I finally got round to a walk in the Dean today, a place I don't know at all.  I was utterly captivated, there is so much of interest on so many levels.  My walk began near Dry Carr and took in Booth, Bank House, Cat in th' Well (cracking pub), Saltonstall and Throstle Bower.  I didn't see much in the way of birds, but there were lots of butterflies about, including common blues, meadow browns, my first large skipper of the year, speckled woods and ringlets - by far the commonest by a country mile, they were everywhere.  I also saw a few chimney - sweeper moths (my first for a year or two) and what I think was a common green grasshopper.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Insect heaven . . .

These were about as we surveyed meadows and woodland for plants last week.

What is the validity of Northern Eggar as a specific name?

Eggar, Northern or Oak ? Near Mytholmroyd.
Best focus my camera could get as he shivered on  my finger.

Common Blues mating. Luddenden Dean.