WFV, Local Wildlife Sites, 27.04.10

Submitted by Wildlife Field… on Tue, 27th Apr 2010, 6:29pm

Spink WellSpink WellToday, in fine weather, 14 members explored four local wildlife sites and nature reserves, starting at Boar's Well Urban Wildlife Reserve which is managed by BEES.  Named after the famous boar that is represented in Bradford's coat of arms, the site also has another ancient well, Spink well, which takes its name from an old Yorkshire name for the chaffinch, one of the 13 species of bird which we managed to record at the site less than half a mile from Bradford Town Hall;  these included the summer migrants chiffchaff, willlow warbler and blackcap. Joan and the other botanists in the group made a detailed study of the site and found 94 plants, 29 of which were in flower.

The next site was another BEES managed site, the Urban Wildlife Reserve located at the end of Horton Park Avenue opposite the famous sports ground between the new mosque and the university halls of residence.  This site has been much improved by BEES and a variety of spring-flowering plants were found together with 4 bird species not seen at Boar's Well.

We had our picnic lunch at the Bowling Park Community Orchard which is another BEES-managed project, before driving to Horton Bank where the Country Park was created in 1997 on the site of an old reservoir and which has extensive walks round a lake.  Another 4 different birds brought the day's total to 21.

Butterflies abounded throughout the day, mainly speckled wood, orange-tip, peacock and comma and we enjoyed spring flowers like lady's smock, marsh marigold and cowslip together with the first of the bluebells which were just showing.

Nick is normally office-bound when the WFV visits take place and it was very nice to be able to enjoy his company and his driving skills today.  Another very enjoyable WFV day.




WFV, Stoneycliffe Wood, 20th April 2010

Submitted by Wildlife Field… on Wed, 21st Apr 2010, 8:38am

Wood Sorrel LeavesWood Sorrel LeavesNine people travelled on the minibus, meeting up with 4 others for today's trip to Stoneycliffe Wood which was led by Peter. Stuart and Gillian were unable to come due to volcanic activity in Iceland - I thought they were in the States! :)

Stoneycliffe Wood is in Netherton near Wakefield and is owned by the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust. Our start point was close to Netherton cemetery. Although there was a brisk, bracing breeze, the sun shone on us virtually all day and once we were in the woods, we were afforded some protection from the wind. Our route took us through woodland, mostly on paths that ran alongside a stream. Unfortunately only a handful of bluebells were in flower, but there were large swathes of golden saxifrage by the stream, that almost seemed to glow. There were plenty of wood anenomes and a little wood sorrel was in flower.There was a profusion of wild garlic,not quite in flower, but very aromatic. We sat on some felled trees to eat our lunch, before continuing our 4 mile walk which took us beyond Stoneycliffe Wood to Coxley Wood, before we turned back. Flowering plants and ferns numbered 28. The bird count was 23, and included long-tailed tit, nuthatch and greater spotted woodpecker. The birding highlight was being serenaded by a blackcap. Two butterflies were seen - the comma and the orange tip. At the end of the walk people dispersed, but those on the minibus headed for Charlotte's ice cream parlour near Huddersfield. There was a choice of about 30 different flavours of ice cream including apple crumble! A lovely way to round off  a beautiful day.



WFV, Masham Leaves and Constable Burton Hall Gardens, 13th April, 2010

Submitted by Wildlife Field… on Tue, 13th Apr 2010, 9:52pm


Crossing the BridgeCrossing the Bridge

A full minibus set off to Masham for today's trip led by Eric and Brian. It was nice to see Robert back with us today. The sun had been shining in Bradford, but the further north we travelled, the cloudier and foggier it got. By the time we arrived at Masham to meet up with three other participants, it was raining lightly.When we got off the bus, we were somewhat taken aback at how cold it was too. Maybe we'd been spoilt by the recent lovely sunshine! We started by spending a little time exploring the church and churchyard before following the Masham leaves walk, a 3 mile route through fields, woods and along river banks. En route, we saw several leaf sculptures that have been formed from paving slabs of locally quarried limestone reclaimed from the former railway station platform. Light rain continued for much of the morning. We sat and had lunch on some felled trees, before continuing onwards. Eric had forewarned us about the "bottomless bridge", but we weren't quite sure what he meant. We soon saw it for ourselves and it was interesting to see how differently people negotiated it. Initially, people were crossing it by straddling the bridge whilst holding on to the hand rails. Those following on behind found a more elegant way, by shuffling along the outside of the bridge whilst hanging on to the rail! (see gallery). Forty flowering plants/ferns were noted including yellow star of bethlehem, hairy woodrush and moschatel. Thirty nine birds were recorded, including curlew, oystercatcher, dipper, black cap and song thrush. An unusual cauliflower like growth was seen on a tree - we thought it was a kind of fungus, but I googled it and have identified it as a slime mould, Enteridium lycoperdon. After the walk, most of the group headed for a local tea shop, glad to get warm and have refreshments.The rain had now stopped and the sun was trying its best to poke through, but it remained rather cold.We piled back into the mini-bus and headed for the Constable Burton Hall Gardens, where we enjoyed a stroll around the garden trail. Numerous lovely plants were seen, but most abundant and spectacular was the wonderful display of daffodils of various kinds.Despite the cold and damp conditions, it had been another lovely day out.  


WFV, Earby Mining Museum, 30.03.10

Submitted by Wildlife Field… on Wed, 31st Mar 2010, 7:57am

Branching OutBranching OutFor today's WFV visit we strayed over the border into Lancashire, although one could be forgiven for not realising that as the welcome sign on entering Earby proclaims that it is part of the ancient county of West Yorkshire - good on Earby!

The Yorkshire Dales Mining Museum was opened in 1971 by the Earby Mines Research Group to house a collection of relics of the Dales mining industry. The very interesting museum, run entirely by volunteers, is housed in the old grammar school, a listed building of 1594.  We spent the morning looking round the museum and then lunched at the museum's cafe before undertaking a short walk along the disused ralway line.  Joan & Brian had curtailed their planned walk due to the paths being turned muddy by recent rain which continued to fall as we started our walk. The rain soon bated (a Yorkshire dialect word not known to some of our members = abated)  and most of the walk was enjoyed in dry overhead conditions. Despite the late Spring we were still able to find 11 plants in flower together with two ferns. Celandines and coltsfoot have been showing for a while, but for most of us it was the first sighting of primroses and butterburr.  Chaffinches were by far the most vociferous of the singing birds and it was nice to hear the burbling of curlews once again - a total of 16 species of birds was recorded.  Thirteen members made light of the somewhat inclement weather and enjoyed the day.





WFV, Harrogate Valley Gardens, 16th March, 2010

Submitted by Wildlife Field… on Tue, 16th Mar 2010, 7:34pm

HelleboreHelleboreFourteen were on today's trip to Harrogate led by Veronica. Although the sun was shining for much of the day, Spring flowering plants are making a late appearance this year, so prior to exploring the Valley Gardens we headed to Birk Crag. Here, and at various strategic points throughout the day, Veronica imparted considerable information about the places we were visiting. We headed down into the woodland and walked alongside the little beck. A buzzard was spotted overhead along with a red kite. After crossing the bridge over the beck the path took us towards the Harrogate Arms. Here we were greeted by donkeys, owls (caged) and harris hawks that squawked loudly from the roof. (The Harrogate Arms houses a falconry centre.)

We then made our way through the Pinewoods, where we saw nuthatches and bullfinches on some bird feeders. There were good footpaths and a telescope for public use afforded panoramic  views of the area to the north. The major tree species in these woodlands is the Scots pine.

Once in the Valley Gardens, we had lunch in the open. The sun had disappeared and we did get quite chilled whilst sat on the park benches, but we soon warmed up again once we got moving. We looked at the various buildings in the park as well as the plants. Some of the group also made a brief visit to the Pump Room and one couple were brave enough to sample the waters!. Only 6 plants (wild) were recorded in flower, but it was lovely to see the crocuses and snowdrops. The daffodils were just starting to open up. Veronica enthused about various trees including the female monkey puzzle tree, the very old laburnum and also the rare honey locust tree. The spikes on the honey locust tree were quite striking! Veronica pointed out her favourite tree - a Persian ironwood. We ambled back through the Pinewoods to the car park, having enjoyed another pleasant day out......and on the way home on the bus we saw a curlew and a deer running through a field - lovely.


Japanese Knotweed control

Submitted by julia on Tue, 9th Mar 2010, 3:52pm

After seven years of quarenteed research the insect that they hope will be the answer to controlling Japanese Knotweed has today been released in two unnamed sites in the South of England.

We can't relax just yet - these are field trials before it considered for further in the meantime we will have to keep going with our labour intensive control methods.

See this link for a bbc report.

WFV, St Ives Estate, Bingley, 09.03.10

Submitted by Wildlife Field… on Tue, 9th Mar 2010, 3:40pm

Grey WagtailGrey WagtailToday's outing was the postponed Annual New Year walk arranged by Donald, who led half the group on a planned 5 mile walk by way of Harden Moor and the St Ives estate.  Joan led the other half on a less strenuous 2-3 mile tour of the estate.  The severity of the winter has been such that we were probably able to see as many flowering plants in March as we would have seen in January!  The bird count was also low, but the morning was exceptionally bright and both parties enjoyed extensive views over the surrounding countryside as far distant as snow-covered Ingleborough.  By the time the whole group had re-convened for lunch at Druids Altar we had lost the sun and the day was turning cold; we therefore strolled leisurely back to the minibus where a welcome Yorkshire Dales ice cream rounded off the day for some of us!


Friday 5th March 2010, Peel Park Primary School

Submitted by joe_peate on Mon, 8th Mar 2010, 12:36pm
Working with Habitat Heroes, we made a start reclaiming part of the large area of waste ground behind the new school playground here at Peel Park Primary, with a view to eventually creating a wildlife habitat area that children can visit. A large stand of Japanses Knotweed was cleared around some steps uncovered by the group. We're in no doubt that it will be back with a vengence in the summer! We also cleared and uprooted brambles to help reduce overgrowth in summer, effectively making a start on a possible route for a nature walk.

Other members of the group assembled and installed a couple of large raised beds near the entrance to the school grounds, and some native trees/shrubs were also planted.

This was a varied day, at the start of what is a large undertaking to transform the site. It will be very interesting to see how this develops.

Finally, I think that I should mention the lovely lunch that the school laid on for us. It was a rare treat, and very much appreciated by all of us involved!

WFV, Blacktoft Sands RSPB, 02.03.10

Submitted by Wildlife Field… on Thu, 4th Mar 2010, 8:23am

 Herald MothHerald MothThe sighting of a Herald Moth was a true herald of Spring when 12 of the group visited Blacktoft Sands on a beautiful sunny day.  Unfortunately high Spring tides had cut off access to two of the hides to all but welly-wearers, but there are 5 other hides from which to view the birds and we managed to record a total of 37 different species on the day.  Highlights were marsh harriers - the star attraction of Blacktoft - black-tailed godwit, snipe and tree sparrows but although there were most of the duck species that we could have expected, waders were thin on the ground.

After the cold winter, flowering plants were difficult to locate but we did eventually find three speices - daisy, groundsel and pussy-willow.  Mammals were represented by hare, roe deer, evidence of moles and a brown rat which seemed to have adapted to living in a tree over the top of the bird feeders!

Three big birds which spectacularly over-flew us appeared to be a bomber with fighter escort, but in reality were likely to be a K-135 Stratotanker preparing to re-fuel two F-15s, which gave a different twist to the day's sightings and we all returned to Bradford having thoroughly enjoyed our first outing of Spring.



By Canal And River From Rodley, February 16th, 2010

Submitted by Wildlife Field… on Tue, 16th Feb 2010, 9:18pm

Hazel CatkinsHazel CatkinsOnly eleven people came on today's trip, a local walk starting at Rodley.Several people came by car.  One participant had withdrawn due to snow in Queensbury and unfortunately Enid, today's walk leader, had to withdraw from this event due to family commitments. Responsibility for leading then fell to a trio of ladies who had recently recced this walk with Enid.

Happily, although cold, Rodley was snow free. Dark clouds did linger, but thankfully the sun shone throughout the day. We set off from Bridge Road, Rodley, crossing the swing bridge to walk alongside the canal towards Calverley. Several swans and cygnets were seen, along with some mallards, canada geese and moorhens. Soon after passing Rodley visitor moorings we turned off the canal path to cross the Packhorse Bridge over the River Aire, where we saw a pair of goosanders. On the far side of the river we took the riverside path heading  towards Newlay. We had to watch our footing in the very muddy conditions.Little fungi was evident, but Veronica shared her growing interest in lichens with the group. We saw some snowdrops in flower.We also saw a couple of male bullfinches. Our path headed away from the river towards the Newlay housing estate. Having walked at an unusually steady pace, we reached our lunchstop near the Abbey Inn quite early before the pub had opened. We ate our packed lunch outside and then had an unhurried drink in the Abbey Inn before heading back along the canal towpath towrds Rodley.We took time to look at the buds, catkins and cones on the trees, including alder and hazel.A flock of long-tailed tits were seen. A tufted duck was spotted on the canal. We arrived back at the starting point around 2pm. Having seen little sun of late, this turned out to be a very pleasant walk.