Thursday, 23 March 2017

What did we do today?

...... You got it - we planted some more trees! We must be near the 1000 mark by now?
We're looking forward to them becoming a hedgerow of blossom and berries in the not too distant future. 
We've had lots of help from regular volunteers, newcomers and local scouts - it is truly appreciated, so please spread the word about making a difference at Cromwell Bottom, Thank you. 

Wednesday, 22 March 2017


BIRD SURVEY March 18th 2017
The weather was not very kind to-day; overcast, windy and threatening rain, but not cold. Despite this many birds were singing; thrushes both mistle and song, robins dunnocks,  blue tits, great tits, and wrens. Our first summer warbler visitor, chiffchaffs were also in good voice. His song is really welcome even though after a while it can become annoying with its repetitive sound.
Alan and David surveyed both North Loop meadow and the hay meadow. They noted that though North Loop had a good variety of birds the hay meadow was very quiet. One possible reason could be the extra disturbance that occurs there.
Mike, Steve and Jane found more birds (small passerines)  away from the canal path (not surprisingly) and on the ‘bund’ heard ,but did not see,  both water rail (pig squealing sound)  and coot coming from the reed-bed area.
The feeding area was very quiet and we realised it was because there was very little food out but there were plenty of birds in the cabin feeding station.
You do not have to be an expert at identifying birds to join us on these surveys, though it is useful to have a pair of binoculars. Do come along and give us extra ‘eyes’, please.

Jane Uttley

Mute swan 1 ad 4 juv           Great tit 7
Canada goose 15                   Long tailed tit   2    
Shelduck 1 (F)                       Wren  5
Mallard   8                             Goldcrest 1 
Teal 3                                      Chiffchaff 2
Goosander   1                         Nuthatch 1
Cormorant   11                       Blackbird  6
Grey heron 4                          Song thrush  1
Buzzard 1                                Mistle thrush 3
Kestrel 1                                  Robin  7
Water rail (Heard)                Dunnock  5
Coot (Hear)                            Meadow pipit  4
Moorhen   1                            Chaffinch  8
Oystercatcher 2                     Goldfinch  6
Snipe 3                                    Linnet 15/20
Stock dove   2                         Bullfinch 12
Wood pigeon   30/40           Siskin  4
Jackdaw 18                             Lesser redpoll 2
Magpie   4                               Reed bunting   1
Carrion crow 8                      41 Species
Jay 2                                        Mammals
Blue tit   10                             Roe Deer  1
                                                  Grey Squirrel 2

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Redpoll at the cabin and a deer near the feeders.

A very welcome couple of visitors for the third bird survey yesterday.

Friday, 17 March 2017


Hi all
The Cromwell Bottom Footbridge will be open every weekend now for the foreseeable future.

Saturday, 11 March 2017

The Countryside and Woodlands e-newsletter

The Countryside and Woodlands team will be launching their e-newsletter later this month. If you would like to be on the circulation list, please e-mail


Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Cracking Cromwell

      Had a cracking day at Cromwell today and bumped into
      visitors from Leeds & Huddersfield.
      4 Teal were on the lagoon, 5 Goosander up by the weir
      and Siskin and Goldcrest about in the woods.
      28 species spotted on the morning.
      and the weather held up.


Sunday, 5 March 2017

Nice to see the Jays back

A couple popped into the feeding area today.

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Sparrowhawk This Morning

Grabbed this pic of a sparrowhawk (male?) on the reserve today just after it had missed grabbing a bluetit for brunch. And for those missing the jays, four flew over the feeding area together but didn't drop in.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Spring 2017 Newsletter

Our latest Newsletter, Spring 2017, is now available. This will be sent to all our Members automatically in the next day os so.

If any Member does not receive it by Saturday then please contact us.

If you are not a Member and would like join us to help maintain our Reserve and receive all Newsletters to date then visit us in the Cabin or fill in the form on the right. We will contact you as soon as possible.

Watching birds is good for your health

Research from Exeter University finds that watching birds near your home is good for your mental-wellbeing.  An interesting part of the findings is the link between mental-wellbeing and birds seen in the afternoon:

Nest Box Research

This report from the BBC about nest boxes and natural nesting sites may be of interest to some of you.  The take-away is that both forms of nesting have their pros and cons, though in the long-term natural cavities would appear to be the best form:

Friday, 24 February 2017

Bridge opening this weekend

The bridge will be open on Saturday and Sunday the plan was to close it on Saturday but weather conditions made a change nessesary there will be working on Sunday but the bridge will be open for this weekend . If anyone is coming to the Photo day tomorrow meet in the cabin at 10am . Yours Graham

Thursday, 23 February 2017


Saturday 25th of February     10am - 2pm

Come along to expert photography tuition for all ages, abilities and camera types. Followed by tea, coffee and home-made produce!

Apparently  The Footbridge will be OPEN all Saturday. So please meet as normal in the Cromwell Bottom Car Park at 10:00am
        No need to book - just come along to the Cabin

Bird Survey


The February bird survey on the 18th enjoyed far better weather. The sun shone, there was only a light wind and it was mild. The birds obviously enjoyed it because there were larger numbers of birds, though not species. ( 31 rather than30 )
Rather more of the reserve was covered even though there were only 5 participants. However we still did not see a jay; but Mike Henshaw and Steve Midgley did see a MALE HEN HARRIER passing through; the first time one has been seen on the reserve (we think) After several texts it was confirmed as a Calderdale sighting to enter the record book,
Rather mundane, the flocks of redwings were not seen, possible left on their journey north.
Song thrushes were starting to sing as where wrens, dunnocks and robins, who were in full song.
As many as 13 grey herons were ‘put-up’ by something and were all seen together in the sky. Several of them were seen earlier carrying nesting material. The great spotted woodpecker made an appearance at the feeding station, as did 6 reed bunting. Good views of 3 wigeon were finally had on the river
Mike and Steve also spotted a mink cowering under the metal bridge.
Roy who came with us for the first time said he had learnt a lot from his visit and had thoroughly enjoyed it.

List of species displayed in the cabin

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Cromwell Bottom Wildlife Group
Will be holding its 6th
Annual General Meeting
On Wednesday the 26th of APRIL 2017
at 7:30pm
At the Mulberry Suite
Brighouse Sixth Form College
Off Parsonage Lane Brighouse HD6 1FG
The Group is formed from local people who are passionate about its Nature Reserve; the committee is holding an AGM to vote in a new committee. Positions for election are Chair; Vice Chair; Treasurer; Fundraiser and Secretary PLUS 7 position’s for members without portfolio.   

If you are interested in standing for election in any of the positions please contact me before the 31st of March 2017 by e-mail/ post / or phone: Allan on  07810 004401
This meeting will include an election of people to serve on the committee for a 12 month period. Any member wishing to be nominated please contact Allan or any member of the committee.

Many thanks to all the committee for the last 12 months of dedicated service.
All Welcome to come along


Saturday, 11 February 2017

Recent Photos

                Starlings at Brighouse (Worth going down at the end of the day when you leave the reserve)

                                                             Reed Buntings  (female and male)
                              Long Tailed Tits. My favourite small bird. So photogenic

                                                         A serious looking Blue Tit

                                               Long Tailed Tit enjoying a snack
                                                      Blue Tits looking for food


                                                             Bullfinchs (m)


Guided Birdwatch

Don't forget our second guided Birdwatch tomorrow Sunday February 12th.
Meet in the car park at 10am. Tea and coffee in the Cabin.
All Welcome

Monday, 6 February 2017

Leucistic Female Bullfinch

Has anyone else spotted her at the feeding area (I'm guessing that's what's causing the odd colouration?)

Great Diving Beetle

This aquatic beetle had died in the top pond on Tag Loop on Saturday. My picture of its upper side was blurred.
We put it back at the water's edge so it might still be there.

Also, the Autumn Crocus leaves have started into growth in the Park Nook Lock area of woodland to the west of the reserve. (Pics on Calderdale-wildlife.blogspot - two places about 475 metres apart I've re-discovered so far.) Whoever has started maintaining it is doing a good job of clearing up the plastic but I don't agree with pruning the low branches obstructing the path, as now the off-road cyclists are going through and cutting up the ground. It's more interesting as well as being better exercise for us walkers if we have branches to climb over and duck under.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Weekend Bridge Closure at Cromwell Bottom

Hi all the bridge will be closed on Saturday this weekend, there will be NO ONE allowed over as last weekend there was some less than polite conversation to the contractors, we have an arrangement with them for work days and important events like tomorrow, if you are coming to help or to an event and the bridge is closed please be in the car park for 9-30am and we will get everyone over on block, NO stragglers will be allowed after the main group has gone over, if you are late but still want to come, enter from Avocet car park and walk in. Your cooperation is appreciated.  Graham

Monday, 30 January 2017

Bird Survey

Last Saturday 28th January a Bird Survey was carried out on the reserve. 
Despite the poor weather conditions initially, we compiled a reasonable list of species, 30 in total. Look at the list on the board in the cabin.

However because we did not have a lot of volunteers we were not able to cover the whole reserve and so missed out a number of common species, which was a pity. 
Our next survey is on Sat 18th February and every 3rd Saturday in the month for all year. Hopefully more people will be able to come on some of these days.
Photo GWH

You would learn more about ID of birds and take part in Citizens Science providing important information for the nationwide organisations of the RSPB and the BTO (British Trust for Ornithology); helping with the conservation of birds. Also it could be a lot of fun and meeting other like minded people!

Redwing  - One of the 30 species seen.

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Siskin pics from Upper Calderdale

C. 40 Siskins were at Todmorden this morning. A few pics and comments are on the Calderdale Wildlife blog.

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Cromwell Photography Day

Hi all

We have had a call from Matt at Kier today, the bridge will be closed Saturday and Sunday, however on Saturday we will be allowed to cross at around 10am with anyone for the photography day, so please meet in the car park by 10am.

The Cabin will be open for tea & coffee.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Guided Photography at Cromwell Bottom Saturday 28th Jan.

Hi all
A reminder that we have our first Photography Day on Saturday the 28th of January 2017. All welcome.  Come along to expert photography tuition for all ages, abilities and camera types. Followed by: tea, coffee and home-made produce!

Please meet in the car park or at the Cabin at 10:00am on the 28th, the walk will finish around 2:00pm.  

See "Next Meetings" for next birdwatching and Photography dates.

Refreshments in the Cabin.  All Welcome.

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Starling Murmuration at Brighouse

This large flock of Starlings has been gathering together in small parties to make one huge group to roost together in central Brighouse for at least a few weeks.

Thank you to Annie Honjo for posting her video on You-tube.

We were there this evening 4.15 to 5.00pm, along with eleven other people amazed by the spectacle.
A Sparrowhawk appeared twice but didn't seem to catch a Starling, though it was definitely trying!
A spontaneous round of applause went up when the birds finally settled into the trees.

The finale is when the trees appear to suck the flock out of the sky.
If you want to see it, go to the car parks at the bottom of town near the double-towered old flour mill.