It ws good to see eleven people turn out for the first BEES trip of 2022. I had hoped to lead the group on the canal towpath towards KIldwick, but it was far too muddy so we walked on the upgraded towpath towards Riddlesden. Shortly after setting off we peered over the wall onto Silsden Beck below and saw a perched kingfisher. It soon flew into some hidden vegetation before flying upstream in a flash of blue. A grey wagtail was seen weaving amongst some pots on a garden wall before flying down to rocks in the beck.
No sooner had we continued walking than the kingfisher was seen again on a canal barge, but as soon as he knew he'd been spotted he was off again.
As we worked our way along the towpath at the reassuringly slow BEES pace, we noted catkins on a tree, berries on a holly bush and fungi on a tree stump which was identified by John as Lumpy Bracket. About a mile along the canal another flying kingfisher was spotted, landing briefly before flying again.
On a grey, still, November day, four of us met up to repeat our almost annual visits to this rich Waxcap site. We had travelled in two cars; so many thanks to the two drivers: Julia & Sue N. Whilst it wasn't a bitterly cold day, we soon felt chilled, as moving around slowly or standing still for periods in November has a tendency to make one feel cold. It wasn't long before I put on my woolly hat!
There was a large funeral going on as we arrived so initially we spent time searching the area closest to the main road. Here we found that the Giant Polypore was still present & numerous Beech Milkcaps were found. It was several minutes before these were successfully identified. They have a most unpleasant smell. The literature mentions them smelling of bed bugs, engine oil, ovens that need cleaning etc !
It was lovely to see so many folk at Rodley today, a bit like old times.Ten of us gathered for an introductory talk from Graham (we were later joined by John) who took the opportunity to inform us of the planned closure of the reserve for at least two months in January and February 2022 for work to be done on upgrading the swing bridge across the canal.The reserve is now a familiar haunt for us all.We usually focus on a different aspect of the reserve on our visit and on this occasion our focus was on fungi. We were given access to the coppice woodland for our fungi foray.This is an area of predominatly willow ( previously used for biomass and laterly managed by Bees conservation volunteers) with alder, birch , oak and beech also a thick understorey of bramble and ferns. We needed an expert for the identification of fungi species and had our own in John.Several species were identified by John and his enthusiastic and patient followers both in the coppice woodland and meadows.
It was just a year since our last visit to Devonshire Park, a small, 9 acre park very close to the centre of Keighley which was opened in 1888 on land given to the town by the 7th Duke of Devonshire and designed by Lister Kershaw whose renowned nursery business had been established in Brighouse some 20 years before. We noted the recently opened outdoor gym and recreational area at the edge of the park and hoped that participants might be inspired by some of the natural beauty around them.
It was a calm and fine day as 8 of us met for our visit to Gallows Hill Nature Reserve. Our last visit had been at the end of 2019 and had produced a surprising range of fungi. Today, in dry conditions, fungi were still in evidence but not the same number of species. None of those present today had the depth of John's knowledge, which had been greatly appreciated on our last visit and was sadly missed today. Of those species we did see we felt reasonably confident in identifying turkey tail, glistening inkcap, blushing bracket, coral spot fungus, candlesnuff, puffballs and lumpy bracket. Mycena sp were noted but there were others which we were at a loss to put a name to.
Our party of 7 arrived in Morecambe on a very blustery day to meet with John and Sally at the station. On John's recommendation we approached the promenade via the Poet's Walk and headed first towards Trafalgar Point. An oystercatcher and 3 cormorants were seen on the shoreline but nearer the point we were delighted to catch sight of an eider flying past. Showers were never far away, but not as frequent as anticipated, as we made our way along the promenade in the direction of Heysham. By this time the tide was turning so we all kept a watchful eye out for waders. Our first real sighting was of a flock of about 60 curlew next to which, nestled amongst the rocks, were 3 little egret. A lesser black-backed gull was also noted. On the promenade itself a couple of wheatears were showing well and pied wagtail were also noted. As the tide receded a distant flock of knot were seen. Identification was debated as the scope was struggling to pick out the necessary detail but it was f
Where was everybody?! You were missed. Marilyn and myself enjoyed an interesting and productive birding walk on a fine autumnal day. This was a circular walk starting from the eastern end of Eccup reservoir encompassing hedgerow, fields, the dam wall and woodland. It gave us a variety of bird life and some late summer flowers. In the hedgerow we saw goldfinch and on the dam verges a pied wagtail. We disturbed groups of cormorant, egrets and coot sheltering below the dam wall. Several red kites were seen in the sky above. A flock of swallows flew overhead. There were large gatherings of geese, greylag and canada on the sheltered beaches of the reservoir in the distance. A group of four swans were seen lingering in the centre of the reservoir. A chiffchaff and jay were heard. Several speckled wood butterflies chased us along the paths. The hedgerows and verges were full of berries, fruit and flowers in seed.
Hot. Hazy. Sultry. Not your typical day in north west England in September. It felt like we had stepped off the train into the Carmargue (not that any off us had been there to validate this comparison). The weather created a perfect atmosphere for a peaceful and relaxed day at Leighton Moss, with most of us travelling by train, and John and Sally G driving to meet us.
Before arriving the thought had been to walk down to the shore hides, but we promptly decided it wouldn’t be worth the effort when we heard that a lack of rain has left the pools dry, so many of the birds had moved to the shore line. (Whilst normally fed by freshwater, the wardens do expect the water levels to rise once there are high tides later in the week). There was one particular bird of interest there so John and Sally nipped down in the car to be our eyes on the leucistic Greenshank, standing out with its white plumage.
Our day began with 4 of us walking alongside the Calder and Hebble canal towards our destination, Cromwell Bottom Nature Reserve. A pleasant walk, particularly in the early stages, where the weeping willows present a majestic picture framing the landscape. Brown roll-rims were spotted at Brookfoot and a dragonfly crossed our path further along, probably a brown hawker. Nearing Cromwell Bottom a pair of mute swans were seen with their accompanying cygnets - 6 in total with their distinctive grey plumage.
Today the sunshine had brought out the butterflies and also Bees members. 10 of us arrived at Rodley nature reserve for an exploration of the reserve, some were completely unfamiliar with the reserve, some had visited for practical willow coppicing work in the winter months and some were old friends. The reserve, primarily developed to promote bird life, has several habitats - lakes, ponds, arable fields (a crop grown for bird seed), hedgerows and meadows. Today our main focus was on one of the most recent projects - the development of the duck marsh into an area attractive for waders through the reduction of the water levels and creation of exposed mud banks. We departed slowly in the direction of the hides taking in the ponds and field crop. From the hides we viewed around five heron in the lagoon in the company of little egret and cormorant. There were good numbers of lapwing present also mallard and little grebe. It will be interesting to see how this project develops.