Nice to see a hare cross in front of me this afternoon at Cold Edge
On Saturday 17th June, nine of us met at Heathfield Prep for a birdwatching ramble in the Rishworth area, taking in Booth Dean and Turner Clough with its breathtaking views of the River Ryburn. Some of the terrain was a tad challenging but the rewards were worth it – wild and untamed areas of woodland where we spotted some fascinating moths as well as birds. Steve did his usual half-hour count of bird species which totalled 17. Later, we saw two Buzzards, the first of which was of such a size that Charlie said he would possibly have identified it as a Golden Eagle had we been in Scotland! Out of the woods, we were treated to more butterflies and moths, with a possible first for Calderdale identified by Charlie as Grapholita compositella, or the Clover Seed moth. There were a good number of Speckled Wood butterflies and I was very excited to see a Yellow Shell moth for the first time in two years! Julian took an excellent shot of it, shown here, which was no easy task on such an extremely bright and sunny day. As for mammals, one young Roe deer was spotted, one rabbit and one squirrel. There was also evidence of moles in the form of molehills.
Plant species were also noted; Julian photographed a Southern Marsh orchid – identity now verified by Peachysteve.
On our way back down the road, Steve and Charlie spotted a Ruby-tailed wasp, which Steve managed to photograph very well in spite of the insect buzzing around at high speed.
It was a great ramble despite the heat, and – as always – it was a wonderful privilege to be walking with experts!
Natalie at the National Trust has asked me to share this request for butterfly volunteers with you:
On Wednesday I went balsam bashing at Hardcastle Crags – the balsam is quick and easy to pull up and 7 of us cleared quite an area fast, which is always satisfying! If you’d like to have a go and help trying to rid Hardcastle Crags of this non native plant which is threatening to out compete other native plants, please help the National Trust by going along to sessions on 19th and 27th June, and 6th, 14th and 19th July, all at 18.00 – 20.00. Wear protective clothing (nettles and brambles can sting!) and bring insect repellent. Stay for as long as you like. Meet at Midgehole Car Parking (if volunteering and you are not a member of the National Trust, there is no car parking charge.)
Continuing with the beetle theme, here are a couple of pictures of a male rhinoceros beetle, Sinodendron cylindricum, which I found in my garden in Halifax last night. It was struggling to walk – all caught up in thick cobweb which I removed with a pin and set him free to amble up the path, pointing him in the direction of the woodpile.
We saw this ground beetle, Elaphrus cupreus, swimming about at the edge of a pool on the moor above Pecket Well yesterday on the impromptu Halifax Scientific Society walk. Turns out not to be uncommon in this environment, but a handsome beast and interesting to watch as it paddled around with it’s antennae in the air.
There are reports this season from respected arborists, that the advance of Ash dieback disease is breath taking across Yorkshire and Lancs/Cumbria.
I travelled over to Gisburn a few days ago and the majority of Ash trees, both young and mature, had severe thinning and dieback, with many looking near death. Plenty of evidence also on mature trees in Calderdale.
In the adjacent limestone areas where virtually every other tree is an Ash, it will have devastating effects.
Plenty of ‘woodlands’ being planted but no one is replacing the landscape trees which we all love and make the land what it is.