WFV, FAIRBURN INGS and ST. AIDAN'S, 19th March 2019
Old Moor 5th March 2019
As we left Bradford the bulk of the chatter was that we hadn’t expected rain. Thankfully by the time we reached Old Moor, near Barnsley, the skies had cleared and we had what could be considered good weather for the beginning of March (whatever that might mean these days).
The Bird Garden and the Tree Sparrow Farm proved to be a very successful place to begin and end our visit. I think the highlight for all were the Bramblings, both male and female, seen in both places. But we were equally pleased to have great views of Yellowhammer, Tree Sparrows, Reed Buntings, Goldfinches, Chaffinches, Bullfinches and Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits. A colourful bunch, all attracted to the bird feeders.
Twelve members of the group set off from the Unitarian church in Bradford on this cold, winter morning to head east for our visit to Burton Agnes gardens. It was a long two hour drive however we were in the safe hands of Kevin and Sue.
Burton Agnes Hall was commissioned by Sir Henry Griffith, Queen Elizabeth's master mason in 1598. Our purpose was to visit the gardens and complete a lovely woodland walk (the option of making purchases of plants was also on offer).
The snowdrops in the woodland formed a magnificent white carpet. The species was exclusively Galanthus nivalis. According to Richard Mabey in Flora Britanica most colonies began as garden escapes and may not be native. They are often linked with ecclesiastical buildings such as churches and abbeys, deserted cottages and riversides. They reproduce almost exclusively by division of the bulbs rather than by seed.
Julia had been keeping a close eye on local starling murmurations in recent weeks as she tried to decide where today's destination should be. Notification was received on the day preceding our visit that Leighton Moss was the favoured site and so, on a misty morning, 12 of us left Bradford a little later than normal to visit this popular RSPB reserve. Fortunately conditions had improved by the time we reached Silverdale where it was agreed that the Causeway Hide would be our first port of call. As we crossed the boardwalk on our way, we were delighted to see a lovely display of scarlet elf cups, as well as various lichens on the trees nearby which caught Alice's attention. Snowdrops had also been seen as well as polypody.
just checking for anything different.
We went through the differences between the old and the new blog entry procedures. I am happy with Sue continuing to add my photos to the gallery. Perhaps when the site has had a few more tweeks I will be prepared to give photos/gallery a go.
Fifteen members attended our annual social event held at the Unitarian church hall in Little Horton.
As is the custom people brought some delicious food items for us all to enjoy. We also enjoyed the digital images of the flora and fauna the group had seen in 2018.Thanks go to Julia, Sue and Alice. Discussion followed about our future summer programme and ideas were shared. Finally Julia provided us with an intriguing quiz. We look forward to good weather and many successful outings in 2019.
Nine members enjoyed a New Year walk of 4.5km. Led by Donald, we followed a circular route from Gargrave along the towpath of the Leeds - Liverpool canal and returned across fields along a section of the Pennine Way. Predictions from Donald of good weather, wet grass and mud were all upheld. Blue sky and sunshine accompanied us all day. The pace was slow, ideally suitable to admire the reflections in the canal and to appreciate the beauty of nature as a new year begins.After the razz ma tazz of a modern Christmas the peace and quiet were more than welcome. Lunch was taken in sunshine on seats by the Bank Newton locks
.While numbers were low, twenty two species of bird were recorded from large,three buzzards over the canal, to small, a wren seen by John. The largest group was one of gulls accompanied by several teal on a pond. We were stopped in our tracks by a noisy, smaller and less often seen group of tree sparrows.
Our annual mystery trip is often very popular but there were a few empty seats on the minibus for this year's trip. The destination had remained a well kept secret and John's speculation about the possibility of Shibden Park was soon ruled out as we headed out of Bradford along Canal Road to pick up Sue at Tesco; a late arrangement due to problems with train delays.
These two sites are visited regularly, at this time of year, by the Mid-Yorks Fungus Group in order to see the display of waxcaps and other grassland specialities such as corals, spindles, clubs and earthtongues. Alas; as with our earlier venture this month to the Mirfield site, this too met with disappointment, as apart from one Golden Waxcap & a couple of emerging Meadow Waxcaps at the very start of the day, that was that!
Upon arrival at St Chad’s we were met by Mike Willison, a church representative, who kindly directed us to the nearby toilet facilities at the Community Centre. He also provided interesting leaflets entitled ‘Geological Trail’ and ‘A walk around St Chad’s Churchyard’. Our group of six was joined by Sue, Eric and Margaret who got there using their own steam. A Red Kite flew low overhead. Shortly after that Sue spotted a Red Admiral sunning itself on the southern wall of the church. That not surprisingly was the only butterfly to be seen.
This is the first time we have visited this site, which is an annual favourite of the Mid-Yorks Fungus Group, of which I am a member.
The main attraction is the wonderful assemblage of waxcap and other grassland fungi including the striking Ballerinas. Alas, due to the recent cold snap and relative dry conditions during October the lawns were bereft! Nothing on them at all apart from Honey Fungus (mostly gone over and turning to black mush) and a few tiny orange Galerinas.
The community was founded in Oxford in 1892 and came to Mirfield 6 years later. It is based on Anglican and Benedictine traditions and there is a daily Gregorian chant in the imposing church. The monks, who are permanent residents, are all men. During our walk around the grounds we were shown the graveyard with its unusual triangular wooden headstones.