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WFV, Undercliffe Cemetery, Bradford 21 May, 2019

A lovely sunny day greeted us as we met at Undercliffe Cemetery Lodge.  The site has a fascinating history having originally opened in 1854, not only for burials, but also with landscaping to provide formal parkland where people could spend recreational time.  By the early 1970s burials were becoming less common and the Bradford Cemetery Company went out of business in 1975.  The site suffered neglect reverting to a more natural state until Bradford Metropolitan Borough Council purchased it in 1984 and declared it a conservation area.  The Undercliffe Cemetery Charity now manage the site through a board of trustees.

We had been informed by the Registrar of the best areas to explore and so 11 of us headed for a wooded section near the Otley Road entrance.  Whilst the main section of the site is looked after by volunteers, the periphery is left in a more natural state and thus provided opportunity for exploration.

Wildlife Field… Tue, 21st May 2019, 5:13pm
WFV Rougemont Carr 14th May 2019

Today's walk in the Lower Wharfe Valley was completed in continuous sunshine in sharp contrast to our walk in the area completed on 5 May 2015 when it had rained. Consequently the spring countryside was at its best with trees in leaf and flower, the birds were singing, butterflies were on the wing and many flowers were in bloom.

Our walk started from the car park at Weeton church(architect Sir Gilbert Scott) and we followed a country lane, crossed fields into a bluebell wood, then took a riverside path along the River Wharfe. The walk could be described as "In the steps of the Bradford Botany Group" as several members had copies of the botanical list and accounts prepared by BBG members following their walk on the 27 April, all most useful for identification purposes.  

Wildlife Field… Wed, 15th May 2019, 10:58am
WFV Nidd Valley near Knaresborough 7th May 2019


WFV      Nidd Valley , near Knaresborough    7th May 2019

There were highs and lows in today's visit. With Stuart driving we left Bradford in cool drizzly weather heading for the Nidd valley near Knaresborough in order to see the Spring flora.  On arrival at the car park the newly erected height barrier prevented the minibus from entering.  The delay while an alternative parking  place was agreed upon provided the opportunity to investigate  the variety of plants on the roadside mound of soil. This we assumed had been brought from elsewhere and dumped during the recent improvements.

Wildlife Field… Wed, 8th May 2019, 5:05pm
WFV Aysgarth Falls Wensleydale 30th April 2019

We sped through the Dales of Wharfedale and Bishopdale in the minibus before arriving at our destination Wensleydale with its limestone scars, green fields, sheep with lambs and of course waterfalls. The party of 13 arrived at the Yorkshire Dales National Parks information centre at Aysgarth Falls in mid morning. The staff had kindly assembled information about the dormouse introduction project started in 2008 for ourselves. The dormouse population is doing well in this special coppice hazel woodland habitat. As well as monitoring the dormouse population, work has been undertaken to extend their range by planting hedgerows, a corridor between the two Wensleydale sites. Dormice are in a state of torpor between October and April. They are also nocturnal. Signs of their presence that we could look out for are the nest boxes (at shoulder height with a hole in the rear) and the broken,hazel nut shells.

Wildlife Field… Wed, 1st May 2019, 12:02pm
WFV, Lister Park and Heaton Woods, 16 April 2019

A really local walk today, at least for me. Lister Park is only 10 minutes’ walk from my house, but I haven’t spent much time studying the trees in the botanical gardens. Today’s itinerary was designed to give us time to look at most of the trees here, before moving on to Heaton Woods for a stroll through a more natural woodland. 

With the help of the detailed planting guide in the Council’s Lister Park leaflet, and with Veronica’s expert knowledge, we strolled from the Norman Arch to the top corner of the park over a period of about an hour and a half. 

Wildlife Field… Thu, 18th Apr 2019, 12:00pm
WFV Nosterfield Quarry and Local Nature Reserve 2nd April 2019

We set off from Bradford on a cold April morning. Sunshine, showers and low temperatures were forecast. Our journey via the A1(M) took us first of all to Nosterfield Quarry, the sand and gravel extraction site operated by Tarmac. As extraction has ceased the quarried areas have naturally filled with water in the form of lakes which have attracted a variety of birds and other ecological interest. The surrounding grassland is based on magnesian limestone which supports a unique collection of plants.

Wildlife Field… Wed, 3rd Apr 2019, 11:04am
WFV Fairburn Ings and St. Aidan's 19th March 2019

Owing to flooding at Wheldrake Ings we had opted for Fairburn today.

A second less expected change soon followed. As the minibus nosed out of the car park we were halted by Julia who had noticed a tyre was visibly deflating. Stuart and Sue quickly offered their own vehicles and drove the eight members to our destination.

Wildlife Field… Wed, 20th Mar 2019, 9:17pm
WFV, Old Moor RSPB, 5th March 2019

As we left Bradford the bulk of the chatter was that we hadn’t expected rain. Thankfully by the time we reached Old Moor, near Barnsley, the skies had cleared and we had what could be considered good weather for the beginning of March (whatever that might mean these days).

The Bird Garden and the Tree Sparrow Farm proved to be a very successful place to begin and end our visit. I think the highlight for all were the Bramblings, both male and female, seen in both places. But we were equally pleased to have great views of Yellowhammer, Tree Sparrows, Reed Buntings, Goldfinches, Chaffinches, Bullfinches and Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits. A colourful bunch, all attracted to the bird feeders.

Wildlife Field… Wed, 6th Mar 2019, 12:55pm

Burton Agnes Gardens nr Driffield Tuesday 19th February 2019

Submitted by Wildlife Field… on Wed, 20th Feb 2019, 5:12pm

Twelve members of the group set off from the Unitarian church in Bradford on this cold, winter morning to head east for our visit to Burton Agnes gardens. It was a long two hour drive however we were in the safe hands of Kevin and Sue.

Burton Agnes Hall was commissioned by Sir Henry Griffith, Queen Elizabeth's master mason in 1598. Our purpose was to visit the gardens and complete a lovely woodland walk (the option of making purchases of plants was also on offer).

The snowdrops in the woodland formed a magnificent white carpet. The species was exclusively Galanthus nivalis.  According to Richard Mabey in Flora Britanica most colonies began as garden escapes and may not be native. They are often linked with ecclesiastical buildings such as churches and abbeys, deserted cottages and riversides. They reproduce almost exclusively by division of the bulbs rather than by seed.

WFV, Starling Murmuration, 5 February 2019

Julia had been keeping a close eye on local starling murmurations in recent weeks as she tried to decide where today's destination should be.  Notification was received on the day preceding our visit that Leighton Moss was the favoured site and so, on a misty morning, 12 of us left Bradford a little later than normal to visit this popular RSPB reserve.  Fortunately conditions had improved by the time we reached Silverdale where it was agreed that the Causeway Hide would be our first port of call.  As we crossed the boardwalk on our way, we were delighted to see a lovely display of scarlet elf cups, as well as various lichens on the trees nearby which caught Alice's attention.  Snowdrops had also been seen as well as polypody.

Wildlife Field… Thu, 7th Feb 2019, 9:01am