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. 

WFV, North Cave Wetlands, 19th Sept 2023

Submitted by Wildlife Field… on Wed, 20th Sep 2023, 7:29pm

The trip started with waiting for the minibus in driving rain, luckily Stuart and I were sheltered from the worst of the gale by Gillian, who was standing in the path of the wind with us safely behind her. 

We anticipated squelching around North Cave for the whole day but on arrival at the car park were greeted with warm, dry weather and the enticing smell of sausages, bacon and chips from the butty van. Despite having come prepared with our usual packed lunch a good number of us were tempted to buy a substantial and very enjoyable pre-lunch lunch on arrival.

I was very happy to see some birds with very strange mouths, and was told they were curlews, avocets and shovelers. I certainly don't get those on the bird feeder in my garden in Bradford.  Apparently though, I dilly daddled too long en route to the final bird hide and missed even more amazing birds. John's list consisted of:

WFV - Leighton Moss RSPB, 5 September 2023

Submitted by Wildlife Field… on Fri, 8th Sep 2023, 12:34pm

It was a beautiful sunny day for our trip to Leighton Moss, where we were delighted to welcome back Lorna.  On arrival Julia dropped off a party of 7, who proceeded to walk down the lane to the shore hides, whilst the remaining 3 of the party carried on to the reserve.  The Eric Morecambe hide proved to have the greatest concentration of birds but identification was made extremely difficult because of the reflection of the sun on the water and even with the scope we gained little advantage.  The one bird that was new to many of us was a cattle egret, standing on one of the small islands next to a little egret.  In fact over the course of the day we saw all 3 species of egret, encountering a great white egret which we viewed from Lilian's hide later in the day.

WFV, East Chevin, Otley & Caring for Life/Crag House Farm, 22nd Aug 2023

Submitted by Wildlife Field… on Thu, 24th Aug 2023, 3:01pm

This was an own transport gathering & nine of us met at the topmost car park on the East Chevin Rd. We proceeded in an easterly direction along the Ebor Way. There was little botanical interest (just as well, as our principal botanisers were absent - maybe they knew?) as this was largely a boulevard of balsam. The remaining flora was a mixture of ferns, brambles & thistles with only the occasional native wild flower. 

We went as far as the end of the new boardwalk & then walked past what used to be a splendid dragonfly pond. Alas, this has degraded considerably over the years & is now virtually reeded over. The weather was fine but unremarkable & only a few butterflies were seen; Speckled Woods, Green-veined White & a Red Admiral. Lunch was taken on the benches at Caley Crags. It is a shame that the views are diminishing year by year as the vegetation (birch, oak & rowan) takes over.

WFV, Ledsham Banks NR & Fairburn Ings, 15th Aug 2023

Submitted by Wildlife Field… on Wed, 16th Aug 2023, 2:43pm

Owing to several cancellations, only four began from Culture Fusion. The only other pick up was at Low Moor, where Sally & Angie joined us. We met up with Sue when we arrived at our first destination.  We were repeating an event we had last done way back on the 12th Aug 2014.

Alice began by showing us an Hawkweed Ox-tongue she had found outside the building. According to her Flower book this is neither a Hawkweed nor an Ox-tongue; enough said !

WFV, Sunderland Point, 8th August 2023

Submitted by Wildlife Field… on Thu, 10th Aug 2023, 9:55am

This was our second visit to Sunderland Point, the first having taken place almost exactly 6 years before.  In planning the day careful study of tide tables is required as the hamlet of Sunderland Point is cut off from the mainland at high tide, evidently the only village in the UK so affected.  Fortunately we had calculated correctly and we were on our way home in good time before there was any risk of being stranded.