WFV Tuesday 16th April Yorkshire Sculpture Park

The weather has been a major consideration when planning a Bees trip over the winter months. March and April have been horrendous months with high rainfall, strong winds and low temperatures. However the good news was that Tuesday 16th was fine with some sunshine, no winds and varying temperatures.

This was a visit when 8 of us enjoyed a walk enabling us to experience the delight of spring flora, flowering shrubs, trees in leaf, bird song and sightings as well as refreshing our memories of previous visits.  

After a very slow start we meandered in the direction of the Upper Lake taking in the sculptures that lined the route. They were challenging to our intellect and appreciation. On our descent we examined a grassy slope for Slender Speedwell, Common Dog Violet and Primrose. Goldilocks Buttercup was seen on the side of the gravel path. We passed through a wonderful arboretum .

Wildlife Field… Thu, 18th Apr 2024, 3:49pm
Sprotbrough Flash, 9th April 2024                                     

The day for our walk began deceptively warmer, grey but rainless. We parked in the pub carpark where we were met by Alice’s long-time university friend Pattie. Alice, our leader for the day, provided us all with a photocopied map of the area for our walk, highlighting the river or watery bits in blue crayon to make it clearer for us. These maps proved useful (to me anyway) showing the paths, the woodlands and open/field areas, - particularly helpful to me as our group separated in two later.

Amanda Thu, 18th Apr 2024, 3:47pm

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

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.

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

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

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.  

Wildlife Field… Wed, 7th Feb 2024, 3:53pm
WFV, Gargrave Canal, 9th Jan 2024

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. 

Wildlife Field… Tue, 9th Jan 2024, 7:23pm
WFV, Blacktoft Sands RSPB, 21st Nov 2023

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. 

Wildlife Field… Wed, 22nd Nov 2023, 2:32pm
Black Park, Embsay Moor Rd, Halton Heights, Tues 7th Nov 2023

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.

Wildlife Field… Thu, 9th Nov 2023, 3:38pm
WFV, Raw Nook LNR, Low Moor, Bradford, 24th Oct 2023

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.  

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