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.
Eight people left Bradford in rain, returned home in rain and had no respite from the weather between those times. The intention to follow the canal towpath to the entrance of the woods had to be abandoned due to the collapse of a section of canal wall. We were soon back on track and avoiding deep puddles as we put our identification skills into practice.
A small party of eight set off to Foulridge and after parking up near Foulridge Wharf we set off on the canal towpath towards Mill Hill Bridge.
For this, our last visit of the summer programme, 10 of us visited the charming market town of Masham, Lower Wensleydale, on a beautiful late summer’s day. The plan was to follow the 3 mile circular walk Leaf Sculpture Trail around the area.
The day began with a trip to a garage for a replacement tyre after which Julia sadly had to leave us. We had previously received notice of two cancellations and then we had another absentee on the day; so we were left a select band of six, our driver Kevin, Amanda, Alice, Sue N, Jane & myself.