Our planned visit to Gouthwaite Reservoir was substituted by a plan to visit Ripley Castle grounds. This was considered to be a wise decision for safety reasons. The Pateley bridge area had been subjected to flooding and there had been a flood alert for the Upper Nidd area for over a month. The recent weather had been unpredictable with rain, snow, high winds and sunshine over the preceding weeks. However this trip was well supported by a band of 10 regular Bees customers. All in all the conditions were favourable although the temperatures low.
This trip had been rescheduled after the reserve was closed due to flooding when we planned to go in the autumn.
So, we watched with fingers crossed as storms Ciara and Dennis blew through during the past couple of weeks. Luckily, the reserve didn't suffer, and we were able to proceed as planned.
There are six hides in the reserve, facing the Humber estuary, each with a slightly different outlook. We started in Xerox hide where we spent a while looking at a Ruff and deciding that the white marking at the base of the bill seemed a good identifying feature. Some other people in the hide identified three Redshank as Spotted Redshank. They were roosting with little on show, but we felt confident with this id due to their pale breasts.
Today we had both a full minibus and a glorious day for our visit to Leighton Moss.
Having checked on the robin population in the lanes of Cononley, we made our way through the Dales and crossed the county border to reach the reserve which is on the edge of Morecambe Bay. The recent winds had subsided and the sun, with its warming rays, made a welcome appearance.
Once we had all got organised at the visitor centre, we split into different parties, dictated by what we wanted to see and how soon we wanted to settle down to our lunch.
A group of 17 members gathered at the Unitarian church hall for our New Year Social. This was the last time we will be meeting at the church hall, an element of sadness as we have enjoyed many happy occasions here in the past.
Our meeting took the same format as on previous occasions - food (all delicious), a review of the year through Sue's (and Alice's) excellent images of places, birds, flowers and insects we had seen during 2019, followed by discussion of places we might well visit in 2020.The contribution of members to the group was acknowledged and individuals thanked. The wildlife quiz provided a humorous note on which to conclude the meeting. We went away with a copy of the excellent Diary to enjoy reading in the quiet of our homes, also looking forward to our days ahead in the field. Margaret
On what proved to be a fine, albeit windy day, our first outing of 2020 was a walk alongside the Calder and Hebble canal heading for Cromwell Bottom Nature Reserve. As our group of 9 left the car park in the centre of Brighouse, our first sighting was a pied wagtail with the canal providing the usual assortment of mallard and Canada geese busily searching for food. Fungi was in evidence en route and John noted glistening inkcap, turkey tail and smoky bracket.
Our last outing of 2019 took us to a reserve we have visited many times, RSPB Old Moor. On this occasion our minibus was almost full as we welcomed to our midst newcomers Joy and Bruce and also the return of Robert. The weather was not on our side as we left Bradford with rain accompanying our departure and greeting our arrival as well. Fortunately this did not last all day and by the time of our departure, things had impro
Created in 1888 and listed as Keighley’s ‘Hidden Gem’ the park is indeed a beautiful Arboretum, with a huge variety of interesting species, some of which cannot be found anywhere else in the area. A leaflet with a brief history and guide to the trees is available from Cliff Castle Museum.
The church grounds are locally renowned for their population of waxcap fungi and today was a repeat of the 2018 outing which, although yielding a goodly variety of fungi, produced very few waxcaps. That year was the worst in recent memory for waxcaps & we met with a similar failure at another venue in Mirfield. The consensus amongst the mycological community was that the spring & summer had been unusually dry.
Today was a total contrast to our attempt to watch the leaping salmon at Stainforth Force a couple of years ago.
The salmon like fast flowing conditions, ideally a couple of days after heavy rain (so this was the compensation for a wet Apple Day event on Sunday), and a pleasant autumn day made for ideal conditions for the on-lookers.
Alert leader John had read on the day before our trip that Blacktoft Sands RSPB Reserve, our original destination for today’s expedition, had been closed due to flooding and so took the wise decision to switch the venue to North Cave Wetlands, a YWT reserve where we were likely to see a similar selection of birds. North Cave is an ever-evolving reserve based on a worked-out sand and gravel quarry with on-going adjacent extraction that will eventually form part of the reserve.