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

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Offering - any one interested in Natural History archives?

In the library we have a quantity (perhaps a brief case full) of duplicates of these from the early 20thC. It appears we inherited them from the Ovenden Naturalists when they folded.

We need funds, and would welcome purchase offers, or offers of help selling them.

Does anyone perhaps enjoy selling things on line?

Just like the HSS, the Yorkshire Naturalists Union was at this time interested in archaeology, and the only photographs in this edition are of bronze axes unearthed in Yorkshire. It was after all well before the era of wildlife photography.

They are a fascinating read, with birds, taxidermy, egg collecting, mammals and the problem of shooting much discussed.

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Aurora Borealis 17 03 2015.

Hi,sorry this is late,Managed to see Aurora Borealis this March gone.Seen from Flowerscar Road near Todmorden .Could see light green cast about 22 30 which intensified towards Midnight,i couldnt see any purplish colour with naked eye,which camera picked up,but certainly could see the Green ,amazing to see Locally ,all the conditions have to be perfect to have a chance,but it does happen occasionally.Regards Brian.

Our monthly Society walk took place on Sat 26th September.

Eleven of us did the popular Bradshaw-Ogden-Soil Hill- Strines Beck- Holdsworth-Bradshaw walk.
We had never seen so many Autumn Crocuses in Bradshaw Churchyard.
We all sat down on rocks for our picnic lunches on Soil Hill.

There was also a good showing of crocuses at the hollow sycamore down at Strines Beck.

A fast-moving Silver-y moth (a day-flying moth) was hovering around, obviously attracted to the crocuses. 
It landed near the base of the purple part of the flowers each time. Peachysteve saw its long tongue probing, so maybe it was getting nectar. Very few insects have been noted visiting the local Autumn Crocus, and there's no record of anyone finding a seed capsule. These develope underground with crocuses, then push up and split at the soil surface. 

A single Small Copper Butterfly on Creeping Thistle; the only thistle flower noticed to have a scent out of the species we find in Calderdale. The aroma is of honey.
Emma Hoyle, Bruce's daughter, discovered this.

An unidentified caterpillar, possibly feeding on nettle.

Non-members are welcome on walks, as they are at our monthly talks (click on tab at the top.) With thanks to Bruce for leading this one, and thanks to everyone for waiting (slowing down) for me as I went back about half a mile to get my binoculars I left on a wall! What a twit! 

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Consultations -

 - with thanks to Hugh Firman for the links

Probably most know this already but here is the link if individuals wish to comment on Cromwell Bottom:

You probably know there is also a consultation for Norland Moor and here is the link, you may wish to comment or  mention ways in which the moorland can be improved for birds.


       There is certainly a paucity of birds on Norland Moor. Our archives at Halifax Scientific Society show that in the 19thC there was a variety of waders to be found there (often they were shot). I don't think the shooting will be remembered by the birds today.
      Also it is stated that Twite nests were easily found at Norland Moor, though the species is dependent on surrounding grassland having the right mixture of seed producing plants. There was also a lot more control of mammalian and avian predators.    
      Not that I am supporting any kind of shooting or other anti-social and inhumane ways of killing animals.


Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Petition to Ban Driven Grouse Shooting

Hi ,I've been out of the loop for a while,so not sure if People are aware of this Important Petition by Dr Mark Avery to Ban Driven Grouse Shooting.The sheer Mismanagement of Burning And Drainage of some of our Vitally Important Peat Uplands as previously reported by Ban The Burn Campaigners,  in order to Artificially Boost Numbers of Red Grouse which are then Shot ! is going to have a Profound Impact on our Environment and Wildlife.Dr Mark Averys Book Inglorious ,Conflict of the Uplands,tells it as it is in a very matter of fact way.We have a real chance of doing something about this Victorian Practice

Link to Mark Avery's e-petition here:

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Ash Die-back disease

These photos show what may be signs of Ash Die-back in Todmorden. I understand that young saplings are more susceptible to the disease and they start showing signs of this from the top downwards.

Photos are of a dead sapling that died in a matter of weeks and the discoloured sapwood when the stem is cut. Nearby saplings showed purple coloured stems progressing downwards and long lesions. Leaves with brown dead bits. Only time will tell if it is the Ash disease but these symptoms are significant.

Best to look closely at the top length of young stems as the changes can be quite subtle.

This year I have seen a lot of mature Ash trees with most of their leaves eaten to the central vein. I think a saw-fly caterpillar may be the culprit but it is the first time I have ever seen Ash leaves eaten by anything. I wonder if the trees' natural defences are being weakened by the Ash disease before we can see any physical sign of it. Although Ash generally have had a very 'light' crown of leaves this year. Anyone else noticed similar?


I found this on a standing mature Beech tree where the bark is dead. I think it may be a Pleurotus but maybe someone can identify?

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Ash Dieback

Has anyone yet seen this Ash disease in the Calder Valley?

The fungus responsible is commonly called Chalara fraxinea but now officially named as Hymenoscyphus fraxineus.

According to Forestry Commission mapping, most of the Upper Calder Valley is within the zone where the disease has been confirmed, as is Brighouse, Elland and parts of Halifax. The FC say this means there is a high likelihood of other Ash trees/woodland in the same area also being infected.

If you know of any old or historic Ash trees, now is a good time to photograph them and record them.