Thursday, 13 February 2020

The Cabin

Please note: Due to the expected bad weather on Sunday the 16th the Cabin will NOT be opening.

Moth night Sat 22nd

Cancelled tonight due to heavy rain + high winds which when combined = NO MOTHS.

So we just move it to next week Sat 22nd, 6.00pm arrivals, usual Torch, warm clothing, & footwear for muddy paths if walking the wood checking the Goo (sugaring),
See Whoever then.

Friday, 31 January 2020

January 2019 Bird Sightings

Below are all the reported bird sightings for Cromwell Bottom nature
reserve in January 2020. Many thanks to all who contributed, most
especially Mike Henshaw and Jeff Milne.

Highlight is undoubtably the over-wintering chiffchaff but the long
staying water rail on the lagoon is also worth a mention.

55 birds in total.

Cromwell Bottom Bird Sightings January 2020
Mute SwanDunnock
Pink-footed GooseRobin
Grey Lag GooseSong Thrush
Canada GooseRedwing
MallardMistle Thrush
Little GrebeChiffchaff
Grey HeronWren
BuzzardGreat Tit
SparrowhawkCoal Tit
KestrelBlue Tit
Water RailLong-tailed Tit
Black-headed GullJay
Common GullJackdaw
Herring GullRook
Lesser Black Backed GullCarrion Crow
Stock DoveChaffinch
Wood PigeonLinnet
Barn OwlGoldfinch
Great Spotted WoodpeckerBullfinch
Grey WagtailGreenfinch
Reed Bunting

Thursday, 30 January 2020

Moth Night Sat 1st

5pm Arrivals, warm clothing, stout footwear & torch a must.
See you there.

Saturday, 25 January 2020

Cromwell Bottom Birds

I haven't posted images on the blog for quite some time.  Here's just a handful of the birds  that call Cromwell Bottom their home and are part of the impressive list of all that do.  Enjoy!

Great Tit


Coal Tit


Long-tailed Tit

Ric J

Thursday, 23 January 2020

2019 Cromwell Bottom NR Bird Species list

Below is the list of all the species of birds seen on the Cromwell Bottom Nature reserve in 2019. There is a total of 92 different species.

Mute Swan Common Gull Blackcap
Pink-footed Goose Herring Gull Whitethroat
Canada Goose Lesser Black Backed Gull Sedge Warbler
Mallard Common Tern Reed Warbler
Shoveler Stock Dove Willow Warbler
Teal Wood Pigeon Chiffchaff
Pochard Collared Dove Goldcrest
Scaup Tawny Owl Wren
Tufted Duck Barn Owl Spotted Flycatcher
Goldeneye Swift Great Tit
Goosander Kingfisher Coal Tit
Pheasant Green Woodpecker Blue Tit
Little Grebe Great Spotted Woodpecker Long-tailed Tit
Great Crested Grebe Lesser Spotted Woodpecker Nuthatch
Cormorant Skylark Treecreeper
Little Egret Sand Martin Magpie
Great White Egret Swallow Jay
Grey Heron House Martin Jackdaw
Red Kite Meadow Pipit Rook
Buzzard Pied Wagtail Carrion Crow
Sparrowhawk Grey Wagtail Starling
Kestrel Dipper Chaffinch
Peregrine  Dunnock Linnet
Water Rail Robin Redpoll
Moorhen Wheatear Goldfinch
Coot Song Thrush Siskin
Oystercatcher Redwing Bullfinch
Lapwing Mistle Thrush Greenfinch
Common Sandpiper Fieldfare Reed Bunting
Woodcock Blackbird
Snipe Garden Warbler
Black-headed Gull

A few highlights worth mentioning:
1) A few years ago the trustees set themselves the task of trying to attract a few key species to breed on the reserve for probably the first time. Success was achieved in definitely attracting barn owl and probably attracting skylark. Much work has gone on behind the scenes to attract these locally rare breeding birds to the reserve.
2) Sightings were made of 2 different egret species. It is not many years since these became regular visitors to southern England but they are now moving further north. It will not be long before they become regular visitors to the reserve?   

Wednesday, 8 January 2020

Moth Night Sat 11th

First one for the year 4.30pm start.
Essentials are warm clothing, torch, & good footwear if walking the wood checking sugaring.
See you there.

Tuesday, 7 January 2020

New Viewing Platform

We are pleased to announce a new viewing platform at Cromwell Reserve that has been commissioned by Calderdale Council
 . This has been funded from The Brighouse Ladies Circle ,Tesco’s through there plastic bag fund and Cromwell Bottom Wildlife Group this provides visitors of all ages and abilities with a safe platform from which to view the lagoon and enjoy watching the visiting birds and wildfowl . Visitors may see glimpses of the elusive Water Rail and Little Grebe  whilst Reed Buntings and Reed Warblers flit across the reeds  or just sit a while and watch the world go by. Yours Cromwell Trustees

Thursday, 2 January 2020

New Years Day Annual Bird Count and Walk


I am taking the liberty of posting this on the Cromwell Bottom Blog because two members (or a member - MC - and her husband,) were keen enough to join us on 1st January, and Margaret found the final bird of the day, a male Bullfinch, making the count equal last year's record.

The regular route is from Clay House Park, through North Dean Woods, around Norland Moor and back throught North Dean by a different path. (About 7 miles.)

Mick Harrop photo

2nd January 2020

These New Year's Day Bird Counts have settled into a run of consistent results. This year and 2019 had equal numbers of species with 32; in 2017 the tally was 31. Fine weather is a factor. Given a foul day the count would be lower obviously; we have been lucky these last three times.

As above the two last counts were 32 and it is interesting to look at the similarities and differences in the two counts.

There were 23 species in common to both counts, 1st Jan 2019 and 1st Jan 2020:
Blue, Great, Coal and Long-tailed Tits, Nuthatch, Chaffinch, Bullfinch, House Sparrow, Starling, Blackbird, Mistle Thrush, Redwing, Robin, Collared Dove, Woodpigeon, Feral Pigeon, Jay, Crow, Magpie, Jackdaw, Rook, Black-headed Gull, Buzzard.

Nine species in 2019 but not 2020: Dipper, Dunnock, Wren, Raven, Pheasant, Stonechat, Little Owl, Mallard, Song Thrush.

And there were nine species in 2020 but not in 2019: Heron, Goldfinch, Reed Bunting, Fieldfare, Redpoll, Treecreeper, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Greenfinch, Common Gull.

The Fieldfares were in a huge flock covering two fields, very impressive, and the Redpolls were flitting charmingly through the trees along the top of North Dean Woods feeding from the birch seed-heads.

With thanks to the participants in the walk yesterday, 10 in total (8 in 2019.) All played a part in the final count on the walk as well as bringing their sightings from home first thing and on the way to the meet (without detours to sites with localised species.)

Two of us thought we heard a single note from a Green Woodpecker at the lower edge of Norland Moor where they are often present, but it was very brief so I decided not to include it.

There was some discussion whether to include domestic fowl, etc. I maintained they are bird species, others thought we should stick purely to self-sufficient wild or feral birds.

The bad news about the Little Owls adjacent to Norland Moor is that Jackdaws usurped them from their tree hole last spring so that's probably why we didn't see them all summer or this winter. Jackdaws in tree holes have become the norm throughout Calderdale. At one time I used to see them using only holes in old buildings and crevices in quarry rock-faces, where they still nest.

These counts are samples of the current state of local birds. Who would have thought a few decades ago that Nuthatch and Buzzard would be seen regularly? Also to run into a Raven isn't that unusual now, and to find a Song Thrush or a Greenfinch is a fairly noteworthy event.

These records might be interesting to read in the future. Another way of "sampling" bird populations is to time a count on a walk, noting every species. I seem get about 14 species on a good day in half an hour, though I haven't sat down with my notebooks to work out the average. It's OK to count a bird if you identify it without doubt by its call or song. The habitat needs recording; upland, waterside or woodland, etc.

Perhaps we could initiate a regular Spring Bird Count every May-day on 1st May?


Monday, 30 December 2019

Feeding area

Good to get out and take a few pictures

Xmas Fungi Foray

I had a fungi foray along Tag Cut on the 27th and really enjoyed the leisurely walk in solitude with just the occasional peep from a Kingfisher and the occasional, mournful song of a Robin.
NOTE TO TRUSTEES: Please don't lay a new path along there, the wildness and lack of fellow humans was quite refreshing :-)
Main fungi highlights were some very photogenic Common Eyelashes and a couple of new species for myself.

Common Eyelash (Scutellinia scutellata) growing on a fallen birch log. It's been a few years since I've seen these so photographing them with a modern(ish) camera was a real treat.

A close-up of the hairs that give the fungi it's name.

At around 5-7mm across they're easily overlooked.

Crimped Gill (Plicatura crispa), wonderfully soft and bendy, almost like marshmallows.

Scurfy Twiglets (Tubaria furfuraceae) by the towpath at Cromwell. Not so many mushrooms about at this time of year but these are well know for fruiting well in to winter.

There were a couple of Blackfoot Polypores (Polyporus leptocephalus) where Tag Cut meets the river but the rain prevented me getting my camera out so this one's from Pixie wood a few years ago. The name derives from the dark base to the stem.

Maybe the best sighting of the day was this cup fungi - possible Bay Cup (Peziza badia) but it I'll have to wait for microscopic examination by an expert for a positive ID.

Other identified fungi seen:
Hairy Curtain Crust
Glistening Inkcap
Velvet Shank
Sulphur Tuft
Common Puffball
Blushing Bracket
Silverleaf Fungus
White Brain
Witche's Butter
Scarlet Elf Cup

My Calderdale Fungi Blog:

Thursday, 26 December 2019

A Fragrance of Boxing Day!

The Winter Heliotrope Petasites fragrans, long known at King Cross, Halifax, opposite the Fire Station, in the graveyard. We went to find it today and if we bent down the fragrance was gorgeous. We agreed it was almonds we could smell.

A few years ago I came across this patch on the top of the wood above the Elland by-pass, and we found it again this Christmas day, with flowers not yet open. It must have been a garden escape from the adjacent Halifax Zoo, reputed to have had beautiful gardens in the early 20th century,  now the pitches of Siddal Rugby Club.

The West Yorkshire Plant Atlas 1994 has only one site for the Calderdale area, and only six others in West Yorkshire, all around Leeds or east of there. It is an alien from the Mediterranean region.

The next flower to look out for is the White Butterbur, Petasites albus, a relative of the above. This we go to find in the Colden Valley from late February - March, a more showy flower, but not scented, and another garden escape, originally from central Europe and the Caucasus.

The first outdoor meeting of the Halifax Scientific Society (all welcome) is on 1st January, meeting 10.30 at Clay House, West Vale, Elland, HX4 8AN for the traditional New Year's Day Bird Count. Meet in front of Clay House. The walk is about 7 miles, through North Dean Woods (the woods are very muddy just now,) round Norland Moor, back by an alternative path through the woods to West Vale before dark. A stop for a sociable picnic will be taken somewhere in the woods - bring a waterproof layer to sit on. We count the number of species seen or heard.

Merry Christmas

All of us at Cromwell Bottom wish every Volunteer and Visitor a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year. 
See you all in 2020


Our volunteers will open the Cabin on Boxing Day the 26th of December, as well as every Sunday as normal. Walk off those mince pies or have another (if there are any left).

Wednesday, 25 December 2019

Moth Night 28th

Yes - last chance for 2019 this Sat 4.30pm kick off
Warm clothes, good footwear for wood walking, & torch recommended.

Friday, 20 December 2019

Winter Newsletter

Our winter 2019/2020 Newsletter is now available to download. Copies will be available from Boxing Day in the Cabin.

Click HERE to view or download the Newsletter

Thursday, 12 December 2019

Moth Night 14th Dec

Arrivals around 4.30pm & all done by around 8pm.
Nice warm clothing & torch a must, boots for walking the wood optional.
See you then. 

Monday, 2 December 2019

Sunday, 1 December 2019

To Mrs E Harrison your bank card was found on the reserve if you could contact me on I will return it to you if no contact I will return it to your bank .yours Graham

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Moth Night Sat 30th

A shorter Moth night this Sat 30th 4.30pm start & should be well over by 9pm.
Usual Warm clothing, footwear for muddy conditions & Torch are recommended.
It is also looking good for no rain at weekend!
See you then!

Sunday, 24 November 2019

The second edition is now available

Wednesday, 13 November 2019

winter work program

Hi All
          just a few words to let you know what is happening at the moment on the reserve .
During the summer we applied for a few grants to which I'm glad to say we were successful, the down side to that is, its a lot of work ,we were hoping to spread the work load over  a few months but our preferred contractor only had a window in November , so we are taking the opportunity to try and complete all the major work before Christmas and of course the breeding season, with the help of Cromwell volunteers ,Calderdale MBC and there volunteers The PATH TO THE BIRD VIEWING AREA , is almost complete and we were hoping to have that open now but last weeks deluge has put it back a week we had to install more drainage pipes ,we do not like closing paths but in this instance for every ones safety we have had to if coming on to the reserve please RESPECT THE SIGNS and  BARRIERS THAT ARE IN PLACE they are there for your safety.
Further along the paths to Cromwell lock we are installing a viewing platform with a grant from TESCO PLASTIC BAG FUND AND BRIGHOUSE LADIES CIRCLE,  because this area was a bit tight we have made a passing place to the side this will all be complete in 3 weeks time as the concrete has to have time to cure but will make a lovely area to sit a while and let the world go by. The PATH ACROSS THE BUND BETWEEN THE REED BED AND WET WOODLAND  is being up graded although not an official path people were still using it and a couple of people have fallen over the exposed tree routes we are now making that safer with a grant from the Rastrick Big Local and this will be completed by the end of next week (weather permitting ).
 After a survey by Access For All for less abled or should i say more abled people we found we needed to fix a few things and one is a disabled toilet we are working towards doing that and a couple of areas on the reserve to upgrade the paths, this wont be completed for a while but we are working to make it the best in Calderdale if not Yorkshire for disabled and wheelchair users. please bare with us we  are trying to improve the reserve for eveyone, although not everyone agrees we are doing that .

Hope this clarifies what we are doing . yours Graham Haigh

Moth Night Sat 16th

Arrivals from around 5pm
Warm Clothing, good foot ware, & a torch are recommended.
We do little walks into the wood looking for flyers & goo lickers in winter + find the occasional Flightless female wafting Pheromones.

A very high risk of some of these - They are Winter Moths & particularly like Goo (sugaring) only occasional ones found in the trap.

Why not come along on Sat & find your own Satellite (Eupsilia transversa)