Monthly Archives: July 2019

Vapourer, or rusty tussock

Spotted this vapourer moth caterpillar, Orgygia antiqua, on a sanguisorba flower in my garden in Halifax this evening.
Over the years I’ve found them in the garden in the egg, caterpillar and adult stages. The adult female is flightless (see my post from the 12th of August last year
The male’s erratic flight put some naturalist long ago in mind of someone who had ‘taken the vapours’ – i.e strong drink – hence the name.

2019-07-29T21:40:00+01:00July 29th, 2019|0 Comments

Egghead Mottlegill (Panaeolus semiovatus)-Midgely Moor 14/7/19
This fungus is coprophilous (grows on dung).
You can see the partial veil (membrane) on the left hand mushroom, which protects the gills as it grows.
When the cap expands, this leaves behind a short lasting ring on the stem ( can just be made out on right hand mushroom).
This starts off white and quickly turns black, when stained with spores.
The caps of this fungus are usually shiny, dry, and often become wrinkled.

The above two images are of the False Deathcap (Amanita citrina)- Jerusalem Farm, 14/7/19
This fungus can be white, ivory, or have tinges of luminous yellow.
It emerges from a sac-like structure called a volva, like other Amanitas.
It has veil remnants on the cap, and usually a ring hanging from the stem (absent on this specimen).
The big give away when identifying this fungus is it smells of raw potatoes.
Oyster mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus)-Jerusalem Farm 14/7/19
This fungus grows on living and dead deciduous wood. It ranges in cap colour from nearly white, to dark blue-grey.
It has a faint smell of aniseed when fresh. This fungi is carnivorous.
It emits chemicals that attract microscopic nematode worms, which it then catches with its hyphae (fungal threads).

2019-07-19T08:13:00+01:00July 19th, 2019|0 Comments

Common Lizard

Came across this yesterday on Rishworth Moor. Steve notified of exact location for which he had no records.

2019-07-17T10:39:00+01:00July 17th, 2019|0 Comments

Tulip Tree

The Tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) in Centre Vale park at Todmorden is experiencing the best display of flowers for many a year. I think it was planted in the early 1930’s. They are a fast growing species and do not flower as well ‘up north’ but this hot weather has encouraged it.

The large upright cup of the flower is from the time when this ancient species was pollinated by beetles and before bees had evolved. It was easier for beetles to blunder into a large and upright flower.

Introduced to this country from America about 1630. Called by the early settlers the Canoe tree, as it was the preferred tree for making canoes by Native Americans, being fast growing with a straight trunk.

There are only 2 species in the genus; the other is from the far east and called the Chinese Tulip tree.

2019-07-16T21:04:00+01:00July 16th, 2019|0 Comments

Wyke beck seriously polluted.

As announced at the recent meeting, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust has started a project on the streams of the mid-Calder and the HSS has been invited to participate in some of the practical work and also in providing records of wildlife.

Sadly, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s previous project in the Calder Valley, the Clifton Beck/ Wyke Beck catchment was dealt a serious blow recently. On Saturday13th July we were at the Wyke Beck just upstream of Bailiff Bridge. The beck was grey-white with household drain water and smelled strongly of drains.

It’s very annoying because we have known this as a beautiful little trout stream with Kingfishers nesting in the banks. They almost certainly wont be there now.

I reported it on Saturday evening to the EA and got an incident no. 1718487 kindly given to me by an EA official. You can ring their pollution hotline 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It’s easy to find online.

The point we saw the pollution in the Wyke Beck was just north of Victoria Rd., Bailiff Bridge, SE1467925534.

2019-07-15T19:16:00+01:00July 15th, 2019|0 Comments

Pond creatures

Can anyone identify these which have just appeared in a muddy pond very recently? Picture not very clear but best I could do.

2019-07-15T13:33:00+01:00July 15th, 2019|0 Comments

Nurseryweb spider

Pisaura mirabilis guarding her young today on waste ground in Boothtown. The female carries a silken egg-sac around under her body until the young are nearly ready to emerge, then spins a tent-like nursery in which she sits. When the dozens of young hatch she guards them from the outside of the nursery for a few days until they are ready to make their way in the world.

Notice she has lost a leg in her adventures, probably a fairly recent injury because it has not begun to regenerate. Spiders are able to grow back lost limbs a little at a time with each successive skin moult. A spider this size would moult several times in her life.

With a body of length 12-15mm this is a large and unmistakable spider (the clover flower behind her gives a sense of scale) and the only British species of the genus Pisaura, common in the midlands and the south but with a patchy distribution in the north. Over the moon to find this spectacular beast so close to home!

2019-07-13T20:27:00+01:00July 13th, 2019|0 Comments

A mid-summer day dream

I am concerned about the lack of insects and wild bees. Perhaps I’m not observant enough and behind me there are vast populations which play hide and seek when I turn around.

The photo shows Clattinger farm meadows in Wiltshire which we visited recently. It is one of the best wild flower meadows in the country and a joy to walk through, with abundant blue damselflies at every step. But where was the summer sound of buzzing bees and insects; only a few individuals could be seen if hard looked for.

The situation differs little wherever I go. Flower rich fields and flower laden bushes are lacking in any pollinators.

In our wood as soon as July started, it was impossible to work because of the clouds of black flies that formed. I had to resort to a towel draped over my head to keep them at bay. This was the same every year without fail for the whole of July. But now there aren’t any. All gone.

Maybe it was all an illusion and nothing but a dream of lying in the grass in Summer and hearing the soporific drone of insects. Now I have woken from that dream I certainly miss them.

Clattinger Meadows, Wiltshire

2019-07-13T12:07:00+01:00July 13th, 2019|0 Comments

Big Butterfly Count – 11th July until 11th August

Anyone can take part ……

Please note that the Big Butterfly Count starts on 19th July until 11thAugust. Launched in 2010, it’s an annual nationwide survey run by Butterfly Conservation. Declines reveal the poor health of our environment – “WE NEED YOUR SIGHTINGS” is their appeal – ‘Big Butterfly Count’ type it into your computer and log all your sightings.

2019-07-12T11:55:00+01:00July 12th, 2019|0 Comments

From Luddenden, Halifax, to Zante, Greece!

Nettle Rust (Puccinia urticata) Lower Saltonstall-May 2019

Jelly Ear (Auricularia auricula-judae) Upper Saltonstall-May 2019.
Growing on Elder, as most frequently is.
Hence one of its other names, Judas’ ear, as the biblical Judas was reputedly hanged on an elder tree.
The above two images are of a fungus-like structure I found growing on a rock, under the sea,
whilst swimming in Zante, Greece (June 2019)
No idea what it is, so any suggestions welcome. There were lots of them.
The cap texture was just like a mushroom, and the stem was tough.
2019-07-08T17:46:00+01:00July 8th, 2019|0 Comments
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