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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Saturday, 26 October 2019

Pale Tussock Moth Caterpillar

Saw this little fellow earlier this week, in Luddenden Dean.
Initially I thought it was a piece of sheep's wool, covered in luminous algae.
It really was this bright. My camera hasn't changed its colours.
I think it has a face like a cat without ears!
Charlie Streets said they are known as 'Hop Dogs', due to the havoc they wreak on hop plantations.

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Rochdale Canal

We had a walk along the canal from Luddenden Foot towards Brearley this afternoon.

Several young Alders were growing out of the canal bank by the towpath
and we found these small beetles and, we assume, their larvae.
Lots of damage to the fresh leaves though we failed to find any on the mature alders.
All in all there were maybe 30+ beetles but we only found 2 larvae.

With apologies for the small images. Click on the photos to enlarge.

 We think they must be Alder Leaf Beetles - Agelastica alni

Also one from yesterday on the garage door - think it must be the species as described below ?
Hawthorn Shieldbug - Acanthosoma haemorrhoidale

Collared Earthstars

After a tip-off from Mick Harrop, Steve, Sarah and myself went to see these fantastic fungi
at Milner Royd Nature Reserve.
They're a little above the steps at the entrance to the reserve
by the recycling station/tip at Sowerby Bridge.

They were a lot larger than I'd expected, some around 3.5 inches across.

They were also more numerous than I'd expected
with dozens present on either side of the path and a little in to the woods.

The centres were much like delicate puffballs,
loaded with spores which they ejected at the slightest touch.
The outer rays being much tougher.

In amongst the earthstars were three clumps of corals
growing in the soil around deciduous trees
anybody any suggestions?

Monday, 14 October 2019

Holywell Green to Gosport Clough Fungi Survey

Several days worth of rain followed by a fine and pleasant Saturday resulted in another fantastic trip to what is fast becoming one of the best sites in Yorkshire to see grassland fungi. 
The strategy to maximise our chances of finding the most fungi was to form a line with a couple of yards between each other and slowly progress forwards. 
It worked very well most of the time but as you can see here everybody easily became distracted by the never ending supply of interesting finds 
(Photo by Steve Blacksmith).

Another of Steve's photos looking from Gosport Clough back towards Holywell Green.

Star of the show for many was this Powdercap Strangler (Squamanita paradoxa). 
It's one of our most remarkable mushrooms which is parasitic on the Earthy Powdercap (Cystoderma amianthinum).
It takes over the host and replaces the cap and gills with it's own but retains the original stipe,
creating in effect a hybrid between the two. You can clearly see the joint between the two species.
The only book I could find it in says it to be extremely rare!

This one was suspected to be another rarity - Hygrocybe lacmus
but on further examination it now appears to be a Yellow Foot Waxcap (Hygrocybe flavipes).
The lack of yellow base to the stipe prevented a more immediate diagnosis.
Still quite a rare Waxcap by all accounts.

A more "run of the mill" rarity was the now expected Violet Coral (Clavaria zollingeri)
which became even rarer when I inadvertently stepped on one clump :-(

A more common but equally stunning fungi was this Crimson Waxcap (Hygrocybe punicea)
one of four waxcap species new to me on the day.

It has to be said that without Peachysteve's knowledge and experience many of the most interesting fungi would have gone unidentified including this Oily Waxcap (Hygrocybe quieta).

The same could be said about this Orange Waxcap (Hygrocybe aurantiosplendens).

A nice group of Heath Waxcaps (Hygrocybe laeta) in the sunshine.

This tiny Ivory Bonnet (Mycena flavoalba) was my sixth new species for the trip.

An easy one to miss were these ubiquitous Hymenoscypha fagineus on fallen beechmast husks. 

Much more easy to find was this slug-eaten but picture worthy Bolete - possibly Red Cracking Bolete.

My little colony of very rare Yorkshire moths - the Lichen Case-bearer is doing well judging by this mammoth count of 17 larval cases in just one small section of wall.