Monthly Archives: February 2015

Toads on the Roads

Yes, Spring is nearly here and the toads will soon be on the move.
Every year in Calderdale, thousands of toads make their perilous journeys to their historic breeding ponds. Last year, hundreds of toads were saved by volunteers carrying the toads across the road in buckets, before releasing them safely. If you would like to help please contact, ring 01422 28 4430 or attend the toad evening to be held on 3rd March, 7:30pm at Queens Hotel, Todmorden.
2015-02-26T16:15:00+00:00February 26th, 2015|0 Comments

Alternate-leaved Golden Saxifrage

 Opposite-leaved Golden Saxifrage is very common hereabouts in damp woodland
but Alternate-leaved is rare.
 Here you can see an image of the Chrysosplenium alternifolium found yesterday.
Looking at the single large leaf you can see how the leaf edge cuts in,
forming lobes, and the base is heart shaped. (Above)
In contrast the leaves of Chrysosplenium oppositifolium
have a wavy edge and the base tapers into the stem. (Below)

Chrysosplenium alternifolium has leaves branching off alternately (below).
Whereas Chrysosplenium oppositifolium bears leaves in opposite pairs.
2015-02-26T10:28:00+00:00February 26th, 2015|0 Comments

Walk this Wednesday and March Meetings

Meet at the New Lodge Fisheries on the middle road of Savile Park Moor, Halifax at 10.00am on Weds 25th Feb for a walk in

                                  HARDCASTLE CRAGS

To share cars as much as possible.  I have three seats spare in mine as I write. The walk will be about 3 hours. Bring packed lunch and something waterproof to sit on.

Ring or text Mobile 0771 500 5379 to confirm meeting place at Hardcastle Crags. (Either Midgehole or Widdop Road.)

Snow is forecast for today Sunday, so it may still be lying on Wednesday, which always makes the Crags a wonderful place for scenery.


     Hardcastle Crags – Slurring Rock Trail in April.
The Slurring Rock is the big sloping one which  it is said children used to be able to slide down when they wore metal-shod clogs. You can see the worn slope, and it is just about possible to slide down it with modern boots using leaf-litter on a dry day..


Report on the walk above: Five people walked from Midgehole up the river path to Gibson Mill, up the track to the calcareous rock outcrop, left down the narrow track to the top footbridge in the Crags (where we picnicked, then back to the mill down the river path. On reaching the mill we took the main track back to the car park.


We looked at the main known botanical hot-spots. A brilliant find was when I pointed out where the elusive Alternate-leaved Golden Saxifrage
was once known, but for many years and for many eyes it has been unfindable.

Peachysteve bent down and immediately found a plant, and we confirmed there is a quantity of it, lurking among the ubiquitous Opposite-leaved species.

We were back in Halifax by 3.00pm.


During the coming month, Halifax Scientific Society is proud to bring

                                 TIM MELLING   of the RSPB to the town on 10th March.

He will be giving a presentation on NATURE IN THE PENNINES at 7.15 in the comfortable downstairs meeting room of the Halifax Central Library. A lift gives access to this floor with the help of the caretaker.

This is the monthly meeting of the HALIFAX Scientific Society
                                                            WILDLIFE GROUP to which all members of the public are welcome. There is no charge, but donations are welcome to help pay for room hire.

Members of the public can enroll to be members of the society at these meetings, which is one of the ways to join, Otherwise you can start attending walks which take place once or twice a month. There are phone numbers behind the “Joining & Walks and Talks” tab at the top of this blog with more details of the whole year to come.

The walk arranged for March is to Cromwell Bottom on 28th March with practical explanation of how to survey for amphibians. Meet at 10.30 for 10.45 at the Anglers’ Car park. (Look for the brown nature reserve sign.) Bring packed lunch and something waterproof to sit on at lunch time


2015-02-22T12:35:00+00:00February 22nd, 2015|0 Comments

Scarlet Elf Cup – Sarcoscypha sp.

There is a good show of these at the bottom of North Dean Wood at the moment (mid Feb. 2015)
I have read that it was at one time collected for Xmas decorations, but this winter it didn’t begin to show until well after Xmas.

It wasn’t found locally by the Halifax Scientific Society when our famous life member, Professor Roy Watling was foraying as a boy and young man. Only after he was Director at Edinburgh Royal Botanic Gardens did it start to colonise, or re-colonise, Calderdale. That was in the 1970s.

There used to be some discussion whether our local one is Sarcoscypha coccinea or S. austriaca, but now it seems generally accepted that it is S. austriaca.

2015-02-14T13:19:00+00:00February 14th, 2015|0 Comments

Shibden Park today

Greylag Goose obviously used to being near people
Three Mute Swans inc one juv.
c. 100 Black Headed Gulls inc one with it head black already
2 Coot
8 Moorhens including 4 on the pond up at the Hall
Strange variety of hybrid ducks inc one like a monster Ring-necked about 50% too big!

Greylag Goose

Hybrid duck  – with Ring Necked blood maybe . . .
At home among the Jackdaws is this one with white primaries. I’ve had other distinctive ones including one with an overgrown lower mandible. It could feed from the ground only by putting its head on the side. I recently had a variegated one on the roof, about 50% white, very like one I saw in Halifax town centre last year. 

2015-02-01T20:19:00+00:00February 1st, 2015|0 Comments
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