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

Sunday, 25 August 2019

Shibden Valley 18-08-2019

Here are a few close-ups from the Shibden Valley.
Some taken yesterday but most from the Halifax Scientific Society walk on the 18th of August.
A great turn-out, 21 in all.
I for one found it fascinating to have Peachysteve teach us to identify all the plant species we could find in a single kilometre square on the map. Results to follow.
Hope everyone enjoyed the day which became slightly chaotic at times.
I'd like to do a similar route next year and again survey the same map square. 
Sorry we missed out the little talk I had planned,
sketching out the geology of the valley and its exploitation. Maybe next year!

Antitype chi, the Grey Chi moth, resting on a wall at the top of Lee Lane.
You can just see the X (the Greek letter 'chi') on its wing.

A woodland and scrub orchid, the broad-leaved helleborine, a little past its best.
Here's a quotation from the Woodland Trust's website:

'Some species of wasp and bee that are attracted to Broad-leaved Helleborines have been noted as becoming 'intoxicated' after visiting these orchids for nectar - it appears that the flowers can contain a kind of alcohol as a result of a fungus! The bees like it so much, they come back for more, ensuring the flower is pollinated.'

Rough chervil, common in many places elsewhere in the country
but Peachysteve's first record for Calderdale.

Alder tongue, a gall on the developing female catkin caused by a fungus.
The fungus, Taphrina alni, chemically induces the tree to create this structure which it inhabits.
Later, the tongue will become deep red. Spores will be released from it to repeat the life cycle.

Russula virescens, the green brittlegill

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

Giant Wood Wasp

Incredible Farm at Lumbutts has a photo which looks suspiciously like Greater Horntail Wasp (Giant Wood Wasp) Urocerus gigas. The NBN atlas shows no records for Calderdale. This wood boring saw fly attacks conifers and is native to North Africa. The insect is harmless despite its appearance.
The photo taken at Incredible Farm but on facebook page of Michael C Smith who works there. 6th August.

Anyone come across this insect before?

Thursday, 15 August 2019

Elephant Hawk-moth caterpillar (Deilephila elpenor)

After years of searching for one these on Rosebay willowherb, this little chap crawled right past me on the pavement at Cow Green in Halifax town centre!

Crimsworth Dean Clough Scramble-3rd August 2019

Devil's-bit Scabious (Succisa pratensis)
Antler moth(Cerapteryx graminis) on ragwort
Wolf's milk slime mould (Lycogala terrestre-plasmodium stage)
Looking for another route!
Fern hunting
Laurence and Sarah
Laurence studying a slime mould
Intrepid explorers!

Monday, 12 August 2019

Garden Butterflies And Moths

Late July to early August and probably my best two weeks or so of garden mothing ever.
Just wandering around my modest sized, suburban garden with a net, old Coolpix camera and head torch has produced some very interesting and exciting finds.
Around 50 species of nocturnal moths and nine butterfly species were recorded,
two of which are probably new to Calderdale.
Some highlights are - Clockwise:

Broad Bordered Yellow Underwing nectaring on the Buddleia - nice to see one feeding peacefully in the still of night rather than fighting for space in a moth trap.

Dark Green Fritillary feeding along side six Painted Ladies - rare enough out and about in the Calderdale countryside but this one was underneath my bedroom window.

True Lover's Knot - a real surprise this one, maybe the larva had fed on cultivated Heathers nearby.

Small Clouded Knot-horn (Phycitodes saxicola) - netted after dark - with it's need for dissection to secure an ID it re-sparked my interest in having a go myself. A very interesting and rewarding field of study in it's own right.

Azalea Leaf Miner - with just a handful of Yorkshire records I suspect it may be either overlooked, misidentified or maybe just not that strongly attracted to light.

Heart and Dart along with a Copper Underwing agg. - both feeding busily with their proboscis poking in to the Buddleia flowers.

And a Cacao Moth along with my annotated attempt at dissecting it - if you ever wondered what the reproductive bits of a micro moth moth look like then here you go :-)

Thursday, 8 August 2019


Lots of Butterflies at Clock Face Quarry this afternoon. Peacock, Painted Lady, Large White, Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Speckled Wood, Small Tortoiseshell. Sadly no Clouded Yellow.