There was an eventful start to our day at Cromwell Bottom Nature Reserve. Alice was unfortunately taken ill at the Unitarian Church pick-up point and was kindly taken to see her doctor by Donald. Much to our relief a subsequent phone call to Sue informed us that she had been checked over and rest advised. A late start therefore ensued as we were welcomed to the reserve by our host for the day, Robin Dalton, of Calderdale Council. We were pleased to have a new member, Brenda, joining us for the first time and also delighted to hear that a keen botanist, Steve, would be with us for the morning.
Our first foray was round Tag Loop, a beautiful wild flower meadow. As the day was calm and reasonably mild, we had excellent views of a range of butterflies including speckled wood, ringlet, meadow brown, both small and large skipper, small tortoiseshell and a newly emerged gatekeeper. John pointed out shaded broad bar and straw dot moths to add to our list for the day and we were also introduced to alder tongue fungus by Steve - a new find I think for us all. It was especially pleasing to see sweet briar and grass vetchling on our way round. Our morning was completed with finds of broad-leaved helleborine and round-leaved wintergreen thanks to Steve and his extensive knowledge of the site.
After a picnic lunch at the centre, we were privileged to be taken round the North Loop, an area not usually open to the public, where Robin explained site management plans for the future. Following this we stopped off at Tag Loop ponds where common and creeping water plantain were seen as well as marsh marigold and mimulus. Damselflies, both azure and blue, were seen as well as dragonflies although identification of these was not definitive. On our return to the centre, we were then treated to an excellent view of a nuthatch searching for insects in a dead tree stump.
A thoroughly enjoyable day was had by all, for which we thank particularly Robin and Steve for showing us round, John for his organising and Sue for driving and so ably supporting Alice, along with Donald's help. A total of 18 birds were seen in all and flowers too numerous to mention!
See the photos here.