Monthly Archives: January 2015

Helleborus foetidus and early daffodils

I was surprised to find this in Mytholmroyd on 25.1.15. It is a group that doesn’t have a common name, only “Hellebore”. Chris JB reminds me this one is called “Stinking Hellebore.”

H.foetidus is a very rare plant in Yorkshire, usually growing on lime. This is probably self-seeded from a garden plant, or a thrown-out plant, as it is growing on a demolition site.

It’s not in Murgatroyd (1994).

These daffodils were blooming by a pond at Mytholmroyd on Sunday 25.1.15
Whilst there are some daffodils from abroad that flower in mid-winter, these look not that far removed from the native species, just a little larger.

2015-01-26T21:06:00+00:00January 26th, 2015|0 Comments

Sparrowhawk Selfie

This Sparrowhawk flew into our window today and become somewhat immobile. I soon brought it round. The First Aid course some of us did in December came in very useful although CPR was rather a delicate task!   I had forgotten how sharp their talons are and she held onto my finger until she had a selfie taken with me. She few off later non the worse.

That expression reminds me of some of my friends after a few glasses of wine.

She has my finger – ouch! The glove was on the wrong hand – silly me.

2015-01-25T18:53:00+00:00January 25th, 2015|0 Comments

In leaf already

There is a young Hawthorn in Todmorden that has had twigs in full green leaf since Jan 1st. But this early leafing may be caused by planting of European stock from different climate zones.

It is well recognised that most ‘native’ tree and hedge planting was done (and still is) using imported saplings. There was a good article in the Botanical Soc of Britain and Ireland magazine on ‘Look-alikes’, where many of the ‘native’ wildflower plantings were found to be imported. They were the same species but subtly different in size of plant, time of flowering etc. 

Records of 1st flowering may be influenced by these ‘Look-alikes’.

2015-01-22T12:06:00+00:00January 22nd, 2015|0 Comments

Saturday’s (short) Walk.

The plan is to go and see the site of the former Halifax Zoo at Exley, on Saturday 24th January.
The walk follows on from the fascinating talk and presentation by David Glover at the last indoor meeting. I certainly learned a lot more about the history of the Zoo and Amusement Park.

Meet at Stainland Rd. – Just after the mini-roundabout there is a lay-bye for users of the canal bank.
My car won’t be there to allow more space. I’ll be walking down Bankhouse Wood from Dudwell Lane.
Leaving All Saints Church at Dudwell Lane at 10.15. if anyone wants to meet me there.
Leaving the lay-bye in Stainland Rd at 10.45 to go on the canal bank towards Elland, crossing the canal on the footbridge, following the Calderdale Way across the bye-pass (there is a pedestrian refuge in the middle,) up the wood (where the escaped bear was recaptured) to the Zoo site, and back by a different route, either short or longer, depending on everyone’s preferences.  Total 1.5 to 2.5 hours. As this walk is a bit shorter than the usual, we won’t be stopping for a picnic.

There is a short but not dangerous scramble up the last few yards to the Zoo site.

We might have time to cross Stainland Road to see the colourful Scarlet Elf Cup fungus Sarcoscypha austriaca that Michael found near the confluence of the Calder and Hebble rivers. It’s just starting to appear for the winter.

If you need more detail please feel free to contact me (before 8.00pm if possible please.)               Mobile 0771 500 5379

Scarlet Elf Cap
Sarcoscypha austriaca
Calder and Hebble 19.1.15

2015-01-20T18:24:00+00:00January 20th, 2015|0 Comments

Meeting with two speakers at Blackshaw Head BEAT Group

Olivia Walter, Wildlife Vets International, will be speaking on The Role of Zoos in conservation.
As wild lands are under ever increasing pressure, the boundary between wild and captivity diminishes and faces new threats. “Zoos” play an important role in saving endangered species in multiuse landscapes.

And the other speaker is yours truly on the plant I wrote the booklet about, after seven years research with other members of the HSS. – the Autumn Crocus.

This event is at Blackshaw Head Community Chapel on 27th January at 7.30pm.
2015-01-14T12:57:00+00:00January 14th, 2015|0 Comments

This Tuesday’s Guest Speaker at the Library, a good fern find and second site for Winter Heliotrope.

I saw for myself the Hard Shield Fern Polystichum aculeatum at Cromwell Bottom LNR yesterday.
Yorkshire Naturalist Union had recorded here on their recent visit and I was unaware of it. It is a really rare fern in Calderdale, and it looks like this is a fairly new colony of about ten plants near the Hawthorn Alley growing in the fly-ash banking.

Patch of Winter Heliotrope Petasites fragrans c.5m across, flowering on 10.1.15.

Later I was doing the recce for the walk to the former Halifax Zoo site to follow on from David Glover’s talk this Tuesday. There is a patch of the Winter Heliotrope Petasites fragrans just outside the boundary fence in the wood above the Elland Byepass. We used to call this Elland Wood Bottom when I lived in Siddal.

The only other record in Calderdale is at King Cross Cemetery, across the road from the Fire Station.
It is an invasive garden discard, and very extensive in some parts of the country.

David is a Courier columnist and his anecdotes will no doubt include the time one of the bears escaped into the woods.

European Brown Bear (Stock picture.)

2015-01-11T18:58:00+00:00January 11th, 2015|0 Comments


I think this is Field Blewit Lepista saeva; quite an old specimen, cap 50 mm. 
from a garden at Saville Park, in the soil at the foot of an old privet hedge. Found 8.1.15.
I usually find Wood Blewit Lepista nuda in gardens, which I have occasionally taken home to cook, but as they often come up in compost heaps and grass-cutting dumps, and these are quite likely to have had garden chemicals incorporated, I  now tend to leave them alone. 

2015-01-11T00:05:00+00:00January 11th, 2015|0 Comments

Ogden Water December 2014

We went looking for Pithya vulgaris in December. Although we found some small specimens they did not photograph very well. We did do a little better with the ones shown below, all are unidentified so an I.D. would be appreciated. 

2015-01-08T12:47:00+00:00January 8th, 2015|0 Comments

Ogden Water November 2014

I’ve been so busy with work that I’ve had very little time to foray lately and post my finds on here.
I visited Ogden a few times in November and always managed to discover something along the way.
My fungus of the year was the Herald of Winter (Hygrophorus hypothejus) as Michael set me the task of finding it three years ago and now my search is finally over.

Variable Oysterling (Crepidotus variablis) above and below.
Found growing in abundance on dead herbaceous stems.

Spores amygdaloid, 5.5-6.6 x 3-4 microns.

Clavate, branched cheilocystidia

Deer Sheild (Pluteus cervinus) above and below.

Horned cheilocystidia.

Spores ellipsoid 6-8 x 4-6 microns.

Conifer Tuft (Hypholoma capnoides). 

Unlike Hypholoma fasciculare, it has pale grey gills.

Common Rustgill (Gymnopilus penetrans).

Purplepore Bracket (Trichaptum abietinum) growing from a dead pine log.
They don’t look very pretty when you look at the caps but the porous, fertile surface is a very beautiful colour.

Silverleaf Fungus (Chondrostereum purpureum).
In comparison to Trichaptum abietinum, this has a smooth, fertile under surface. 

Root-Rot (Heterobasidion annosum).

Herald of Winter (Hygrophorus hypothejus).
 First seen on the 1st November when Peachysteve and I led a foray with Ogden Wildlife WATCH group with Robin Dalton and Chris Sutcliffe.
 I remember when Oliver and myself joined the HSS and Michael said to me “I’ve got one for you to find” and it was this.
So, I’ve spent the last three years, trudging around in coniferous woodland trying to find it.
When I first laid my eyes on it I didn’t even recognize it! 

The stipe is so slippery that you have trouble picking it up.

Seen again on the 18th November in a different location (above) and on the 27th of November  in a different part of the wood with Michael (below).

Michael’s photograph.

Spores 6.6-9.35 x 4.5-5 microns.

Shaggy Scalycap (Pholiota squarrosa) above and below.

Purple Jellydisc (Ascocoryne sarcoides) above and spores below.

Olive Oysterling (Sarcomyxa serotina) above and showing the lovely orange gills below.

Elastic Oysterling (Panellus mitis) above and below.
Thanks to Fungorum (Dave) for the identification.

It was very rubbery and had a tough, gelatinous, cap cuticle.

Ergot (Claviceps purpurea) on dead Purple Moor Grass (Molinia caerulea) spikelets.

White Brain (Exidia thuretiana).

Clustered Toughshank (Gymnopus confluens).

Cheilocystidia knobbly, +/- lobed and wavy.

Spores tear shaped, 6-9 x 2.5-4 microns.

Conifercone Cap (Baeospora myosura).
Michael’s photograph.
These were popping up everywhere and I’ve never seen as many specimens in the same location, it was crazy.

Cheilocystidia clavate to fusiform without crystals.

Spores amyloid, ellipsoid, 3-4.5 x 1.5-2 microns.

Snakeskin Brownie (Hypholoma marginatum).

Yellow Stagshorn (Calocera viscosa).

Mealy Bonnet (Mycena cinerella) found growing from rotting, coniferous needle litter.

Cinnamon Webcap (Cortinarius cinnamoneus) above and below.

Leafy Brain (Tremella foliacea).

Michael and I found this species of fungus but it has completely flummoxed us.
It was in a group of five, all identical. Cap 1.5 cm, white and matt. White, adnate gills.
Pink, floccose stem, 2.75 cm, arising from a soft, bulbous, mycelial base.
We have never seen anything like it before and we have absolutely no idea what it is.
We did go back another day to try and find some more but we couldn’t see any.
Michael’s photograph above and mine below. One suggestion of mine is that they may have been introduced from spores on the recycled Christmas trees that surround the edge of the reservoir?
If anyone has any ideas please leave a comment.

Spore print pink/orange. Spores pip shaped/amygdaloid, rough/warty, 4.5-5.5 x 3.5 microns.
2015-01-04T12:12:00+00:00January 4th, 2015|0 Comments
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