Thirteen attended the walk plus two dogs. Peachysteve pointed out a short diversion from Ryburn Reservoir footpath into Drumming Wood where this waterfall can be seen, and later on he produced Cowhorn Bogmoss, a sphagnum species, on Beeston Rocks. These, along with the varied views along the reservoir and with trees right down to the water’s edge, give this dam a scenic aspect finer than many of the other local ones; like a little Lakeland water.
A carpet of strikingly red-stemmed moss on disturbed ground.
We walked a circuit of Ryburn Reservoir, making three detours up feeder streams, looking at the mosses and what ferns we could find still holding onto some green foliage in February.
I had said the dam doesn’t often attract interesting wildfowl, but on the last stretch of water we found a male Goldeneye diving and feeding not far off and easy to see in the bright sunshine for those with binoculars.
Colden Dale on 25th Feb.
Some of us hadn’t got much of a look at the calcareous rock outcrop on the walk on 27th January, only reaching it as the rest of the party moved off, so we took ourselves up there on a spare Sunday.
This is the big one on the east side of the valley, long known and the plants studied and recorded. Johnny Turner, a resident of Colden Dale, has since found a matching smaller one on the west side of the valley, as written about earlier in this blog.
There is a well-known one in Hardcastle Crags, the next valley, on the eastern slope of the valley. It’s interesting to speculate there might be one on the south-western side, perhaps a continuation through the hill of this one in Colden Dale.
Maidenhair Spleenwort; apart from on these calcareous sandstones, is almost confined to old walls with lime mortar in Calderdale..
A very interesting mushroom (above,) about 20mm across. The underside had pores; but unusual wide-spaced pores, like holes in a little colander. I think Julian got a good picture of these.
A tiny fungus, possibly Elfin Saddle, Helvella lacunosa (above and below.)
A stunning moss with leaflets like a miniature fern, growing among Wood Melick grass. Mountain Melick was also once known from these rocks in the 19thC. The top of the outcrop supports a meagre growth of spindly Aspen suckers. It will die out unless the Beeches are not removed that block the sun. They are marked as if planned for removal, but it was a while back, by the fading paint marks.
Two members of the Hx Sci Soc recording plants on the calcareous sandstone outcrop.
White Butterbur also still thriving and flowering in February in Colden Dale.
After visiting the rocks we went up the valley, where I guessed the White Butterbur would probably be in flower. This is one of only two sites known in Calderdale. Frank Murgatroyd only found out about it just before his Flora went to press in 1994, and too late to include it. It is a long term garden escape. The other site is near Sowerby Bridge. I’ve found it also in a clough just over the Kirklees – Calderdale boundary, (Wool Clough near Marsden.)
At Colden it stretches for 22 yards along the bottom of a field where the Calderdale Way goes across the top, and creeps along the damp sides of a small watercourse a few yards into the wood below.
White Butterbur Petasites alba
I haven’t mentioned many birds; others as well as myself write over on Calderbirds.blogspot about what they have seen. I have shortcuts to both on my laptop, or there is a tab at the top.