WFV, Giggleswick Churchyard, 19 March 2024.

Submitted by Wildlife Field… on Wed, 20th Mar 2024, 11:53am

Today's trip was affected by breakdowns, but luckily none due to applying our brains to learning about mosses. 

The visit to St Alkelda's Churchyard, Giggleswick has been on the back burner for several years, always relegated to 'if we've got time' after another focus. So we weren't going to let a broken-down minibus prevent us getting there, especially with such an easy alternative of using the train to Settle. 

Unfortunately not everyone made it to the train, hindered by car breakdowns and ill health, so a select five took our seats for a pleasant journey into the Dales.

We were in danger of getting distracted from our mission as we walked through to Giggleswick. Rue-leaved Saxifrage, Sedum, Shepherd's Purse, Wall Rue and Maidenhair Spleenwort, all attracted our attention before we reached the riverside path. Goldfinches, Greenfinches, Blue, Great and Coal Tits were all active in the trees, along with a pair of Siskin on a garden bird feeder. 

WFV, Adel Dam Nature Reserve, 5th March 2024

Submitted by Wildlife Field… on Thu, 7th Mar 2024, 2:12pm

As a substitute for a flooded Wheldrake six of us visited Adel Dam nature reserve. The walk through Golden Acre park to the reserve enabled us to see early growth on both cultivated and wild plants. It was fine weather with an occasional chill in the air and some afternoon sunshine. The park paths were clear although standing water remained in places on the grass. The reserve floor was wet as expected but easily walked. 

We were surrounded by plants and interest all day but recorded few individual species. Lesser celandine and red dead- nettle flowers were seen in the parkland and  golden saxifrage in wet areas both there and in the reserve. Although non-native and invasive, the big, bright yellow flowers of the American skunk- cabbage glowed in the park beds where it is carefully monitored and controlled.  Trees seen with catkins were hazel, willows, alders and birch while the less than fully opened flowers on larch received hand lens attention.

WFV Tuesday 20th February West Tanfield and Nosterfield

Submitted by Wildlife Field… on Wed, 21st Feb 2024, 4:34pm

A party of 10 set off for our February visit to West Tanfield and Nosterfield in North Yorkshire. As we travelled north the gloom of Leeds/Bradford dissipated and sunshine appeared. Conditions were extremely windy as we began our exploration of the sandy banks of the River Ure. I was a bit puzzled as to why our visit was planned for so early in the year, our previous visits have been in March or April when the spring flora as been superb. However the reason became apparent when we encountered a sheet of snow drops growing underneath the canopy of trees( 2 varieties were identified).  Another delight was the yellow star of Bethlehem  with its characteristic upright spade like leaf. Uncertain as to whether our mission would be successful, we were pleased to find a relative abundance of flowers scattered over the ground. Other flora seen in flower were sweet violet ( including the white variety), dogs mercury, wood anemone, primrose and lesser celandine.

WFV - Jo Cox Community Wood, nr Cleckheaton 6 February 2024

Submitted by Wildlife Field… on Wed, 7th Feb 2024, 3:53pm

Not a great start weatherwise for our visit but Angela, Maddie, Julie and myself braved the elements and commenced our walk on  the Spen Valley Greenway in Cleckheaton.  A flowering blackthorn bush was much admired en route and spring bulbs could be seen newly emerging.  Stuart met us at the Community Wood but elected not to stay and so we pressed on.  The whole area is dedicated to the memory of Jo Cox, the former Batley and Spen MP, who was murdered in 2016.  Funding for the project was obtained from a variety of sources on the understanding that only native trees were planted and so there is a mixture of alder, willow, hazel, birch, oak, cherry and hawthorn with provision also for some fruiting trees.  Some of the larger trees were sponsored by local people and it is obvious from reading the noticeboard that community involvement has been crucial in taking this project forward.  

WFV, Gargrave Canal, 9th Jan 2024

Submitted by Wildlife Field… on Tue, 9th Jan 2024, 7:23pm

What a nice start to our 2024 field trip programme. Whilst the wind chill factor was significant, eleven of us enjoyed a dry day, with some winter sunshine.

The first section of the walk was along the canal towpath heading west out of Gargrave. Easy walking made it possible to catch up with each other after the Christmas break, whilst keeping an eye out for any birds. There were Mallards and Moorhens in the water, and a Chaffinch and Blue Tits in the trees. We paused for a while by the stand of Alder trees in case we might be lucky enough to see birds such as Redpoll or Siskins. A flock of small birds flew away, but we didn’t get a good sight of them, and it was a bit too cool to hang around. 

WFV, Blacktoft Sands RSPB, 21st Nov 2023

Submitted by Wildlife Field… on Wed, 22nd Nov 2023, 2:32pm

Over the past couple of months Blacktoft Sands has been closed on two or three occasions due to flooding; high tides combined with storms and high river levels inundating the pathways. So, it was a relief that today the conditions were fine and access to all areas was easy. There were even moments of warmth when the sun came out, though it was pretty chilly by the end of our day. 

The first bird on our list was the Tree Sparrow. I wasn’t quick enough to get the scope on them as they sat on the path, so was pleased that John got good views of them as they flew into the hedgerow. 

Our visit was timed to watch the harrier roost at dusk, which is best viewed at the eastern end of the reserve, so we started off heading at the opposite end with our first stop being Marshland hide. 

We enjoyed good views of at least 22 snipe, several shelduck, quite a few Shoveler and Wigeon (with a chance to compare the male and female plumage) and plenty of Teal. 

Black Park, Embsay Moor Rd, Halton Heights, Tues 7th Nov 2023

Submitted by Wildlife Field… on Thu, 9th Nov 2023, 3:38pm

I have visited this site on several previous occasions with the Craven section of the Mid-Yorks Fungus Group & this was an opportunity to show our group the remarkable assemblage of grassland species of fungi that can be found here.  The principal focus, however, was to concentrate our attention towards the splendid variety of waxcaps.

WFV, Raw Nook LNR, Low Moor, Bradford, 24th Oct 2023

Submitted by Wildlife Field… on Wed, 25th Oct 2023, 10:48am

When we last visited this site, in June, our host Martyn Priestley suggested that we come again later in the year for the fungi. This seemed like a good idea & so we agreed a date. The weather that day had been awful & surely we could expect better conditions next time?  A few days after Storm Babet had flooded parts of Yorkshire the forecast was for rain all day, some of it the heavy variety! Maybe that is why our numbers were down to just four plus Martyn & Sue.

Fortunately we only suffered the lighter stuff; however searching for fungi in the undergrowth, when it is raining even slightly, is awkward to say the least. This was an own transport event & Amanda & myself had arrived a few minutes after 10:30 due to the normally reliable 268 service running late.  

WFV, Stainforth to Settle, 17th October 2023

Submitted by Wildlife Field… on Thu, 19th Oct 2023, 8:40pm

Someone questioned the need for a recce as we have visited Stainforth Force several times to look for salmon, so know the area well. The reason (or one of them) turns out to be in order to see the fish! I have been in a routine of an annual visit to the Force for about 18 years, and the only times I haven’t seen fish is when I have been with the group!

Starting in Stainforth, we followed the bridleway where the walls are dripping with mosses and lichens. We paused to look at the Artichoke galls on the oak, before gathering on the bridge above the river. I relayed some of the somewhat pessimistic information I’d gathered from a local fisherman, and then we took up our lookout spots on the river side. 

WFV Tuesday 3rd October Tree Trail Ilkley Moor

Submitted by Wildlife Field… on Wed, 4th Oct 2023, 12:46pm

Today's walk involved following one of the Ilkley Tree Trail guides "Darwin Gardens and the Moor" produced by Sue and Neil Stevens with support from Wharfedale Naturalists ( this is an excellent publication and can be picked up for free from the Grove bookshop or Ilkley visitor centre). We were a party of eleven led by Alice who had completed extensive research and provided the group with additional information with regard to tree identification and uses. 

The weather was cloudy, mild, with the occasional shower. A superb rainbow was seen from our lunch spot at White Wells. 

The trail started at the Darwin Gardens ( Wells House is located a short distance away. It hosted Charles Darwin at the time Origin of Species was published). It involved the ascent of Ilkley Moor to White Wells ( no tea room which was a disappointment for Angela) and descent skirting the Upper Tarn, a circuit of the Lower Tarn and return to the Gardens car park.