As well as lots of Waxwings in the Country ,there are plenty of Bramblings and also Crossbills and these were seen feeding on Spruce Cones in Sunderland Pasture Plantation,watch out when out and about,it promises to be a bumper Winter,regards Bri.ps me and Ros saw a flock of 50 plus Brambling today 29 11 16 above Cornholme.
There are worries for the many old Beech trees in Epping forest, as their Rhododendrons have been found with Phytophthora Ramorum. This is the same disease that was confirmed in Centre Vale park in Todmorden and Shibden Park Halifax.
There is to be a great effort at Epping forest to prevent the disease spreading to the old Beech and they are going to cut and burn all Rhododendron, which is a prime host and spreader of P. ramorum.
There are old Beech trees in many areas of our valley dying from Phytophthora, yet I see little interest being shown to acknowledge there is a problem.
At work today I happened to look up and saw a tight flock of what I at first assumed were Starlings fly between trees at the St Augustines Centre. I looked to see which berries they were coming for ( there are Hawthorn, Whitebeam, Cotoneaster and Berberis available.)
Then I noticed the unmistakable wispy crests on their heads ! There were about 15 of them and they soon departed over the terraced houses. One of them has been ringed.
On leaving at lunch-time I met Dave W. in Lightowler Road round the corner. He had gone to the wrong place from my directions on the grapevine but struck lucky and we were able to watch at our leisure 20 odd Waxwings in the sunshine. (Lightowler Rd./ Hanson Lane junction.)
Andy H. has since found them or others in the same general area.
It is surprising what a rich bird life exploits these little patches of greenery in town. Today up there I also saw Long-tailed Tits, Blue Tits and two Goldcrests. I have had a Grey Wagtail in the gardens.
Breeders are Blackbirds, Dunnocks, Robins, Collared Doves, Magpies, Crows, Blue and Great Tits, and a Sparrowhawk has finished off a Feral Pigeon between the cars in the carpark.
I once found a large raptor’s tail feather (possible Buzzard) in the car park, but on reflection, it probably fell out of someones door-pocket . . .
Often they say “Snow over the North of England”, and it doesn’t come.
A reliable indicator that we will get it is when the wind (a wet cold wind) comes in from the north- west.
It powers in across the sea to the north of Northern Ireland, but to the south of the Cumbrian mountains.
Then it has free reign across the Lancashire plain, and our hills are the first ones in its path where it gets forced up into the zone that cools it that bit more and the snow drops out.
Then again, I’ve seen some almighty drifts created around here by strong easterlies . . . .
(Snow enthusiast Steve, with apologies to those who detest it !)
A seabird thought to be Manx Shearwater was picked up alive outside Walsden on 2nd November, along Rochdale Road towards Summit.
The finder took it to Hirds Vets near there, where they tried to feed it on fish.
Halifax branch of Hirds vet passed it on to the Creature Comforts Animal-aid man, Mike, but despite his best efforts at rehabiltation, it died. I persuaded him to dig it up from where he had buried it but he couldn’t find it.
Last record I can find is one in 1962 found exhausted at Causeway Foot and later released at Ogden Reservoir.
There are several old records before this.
There will be a walk with members of the Mammal Society and Halifax Scientific Society this Sunday 13th November. Meet 10.30am in the road next to Heathfield Preparatory School, Rishworth. Just off Oldham Rd, opposite the bus turning circle and the war memorial. We may not see any animals, but hope to learn about their tracks and signs they leave as evidence they are there.
Here is a photo of a dead Oak trunk in Cragg Vale woodland. It is riddled with holes that may have been caused by Wood Peckers looking for grubs. It is very important to leave standing dead wood as it supports the high rise community.
They have discovered that Woodpeckers in America carry fungal spores on their beaks, which helps create future holes for them to enjoy!