Photo Competition

A Wildlife Competition for members. Please click here for details.

Saturday, 31 March 2012

Evening Walk - Lower Calder/Bradley Wood

This Wednesday, at 7pm, there will be a short walk along the waterways of the lowest parts of Calderdale, below Bradley Wood.

Meet Steve Blacksmith and Bruce Hoyle at Brighouse Sainsbury's Car Park, at the recycling point, for a short drive then a walk along the towpath for approximately 2 miles walk in total. Lifts available.

This is the only part of Calderdale where Yellowhammers are still regularly found, and we may be lucky enough to find one.

More Migrants

Report via CBW. Several Sand Martins and Swallows around noon over the Ski Lake (GS) and Willow Warbler singing near the feeding station at Cromwell Bottom. (Mike Henshaw). 

Follow up of the AGM

Just a quick report on the AGM on the 27th of March. The following members were voted on to the committee to serve for a period of 12 months. Date for the next AGM will be the last Tuesday in March 2013, venue to be arranged.
Chairman - Graham Haigh, Vice chair - Alan Wolfenden, Secretary - Lisa Walsh, Treasurer - Niall Roach, a new post was voted in and that was of Media / Fund Raiser which was filled by a new member Colin Duke welcome Colin you have your work cut out, members without portfolio were Bruce Hoyle and Mike Henshaw. The Chair gave his annual report along with the treasurer. Membership fee's were agreed to be set at £5 with under 16's free starting on the 1st of April 2012, however if people want to give more as a gift aid we will accept with pleasure. Points were brought up over dogs and cyclists on the reserve and this is ongoing and hoped to be resolved soon. A slide show of CB images was given by myself. dates were set for the next meeting and we then retired for some tea and Delicious cake's and buns baked by the ladies. yours GWH PS. A full report will be avalable on request.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Visitors to the site

We have almost 10000 hits on the web site and you are responsible THANK YOU for the interest but can we make it any better , for those of you viewing from elsewhere in the country or in fact abroad get in touch with us tell us a little about yourself and why you join us on the blog maybe your from the area or found us by accident how can we improve the site for you , we want to move forward with you . yours GWH


Peacock , Toitoiseshell , Small copper , Chiffchaff, Goldfinch on the feeders very few Redpoll maybe there on there way, dipper was on the river. yours GWH

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

hyacinthoides non scripta

First seen in Strangstry Wood, Cromwell Bottom on 24/3/2012 by Chris Yeates - thanks for the early record Chris. This photo was taken today, 28/3/2012 nearby in Elland Park Wood by Mike Sykes.

Bluebell  © Michael  Sykes

A Balmy March Day

March 27th
A pair of Goosanders on the river

The end of a glorious afternoon at Cromwell Bottom.

Next Meeting

Change of venue for the next meeting , this will be at the Community room of the King Cross Fire Station on the 17th of April at 7-30 parking is at the front of the building. yours GWH


Thanks to everyone who came and for making it a great night. The constitution was passed and is now in place. We have a working committee and a small amount of funds. A special thanks to the ladies for baking the cakes, they were Delicious. Yours Graham

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Early Bloomers . . .

First bluebells in flower between the railway and the old canal cut on Saturday 24th. I can't remember seeing wild bluebells this early in West Yorkshire.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Basking in the sunshine!

I decided on a new route today after DJ Sutcliffes instructions about viewing birds on the ski lake. A very warm sunny day, about 21c.
2 Tufted Ducks at end of the lake nearest avocet, by the first small island, along with 3 mallard and 2 canadian geese. The fields across the other side of the river held 35 further canadian geese.

As I walked along the canal the familiar sound of chiffchaff calling returned. Heard my first of the year on saturday, I heard but didnt manage to spot another 3 inside the reserve. Plenty of dunnock (2) & robin (3) about singing too. A grey heron flew over heading towards Halifax.

I went into the reserve crossing between the 2 pools and heard the unmistakable cackling of a Jay, catching a fleeting view as I emerged on the riverside. Green Woodpecker heard calling on the same part of the reserve. There were a number of Wrens about in the trees that flank the main lake, heard at least 4 managing lovely views of 1. 3 x goosander still on the river, hope the 4th is still about somewhere. I had a look over the main lake and it looks like a coot has taken up residence in the reeds, hopefully more and more will come!

As I retired I spotted something bright on the ski lake, 2 x great crested grebe which were looking very active, I suspect they were building up to a courtship dance but didnt have time to stay. One last bird as I got into the car a very inquisitive blue tit came for a good look in my window!

2 x Tufted duck
8 x Mallard
39 x Canadian Geese
4 x Chiffchaff (heard)
2 x Dunnock
3 x Robin
3 x Great tit
Grey Heron
Green Woodpecker (Heard)
4 x Wren
2 x Coot
3 x Goosander
Blue Tit
2 x Great Crested Grebe

Sunday, 25 March 2012


4 peacock butterflies out today summers on its way, also a yellowhead redpoll on the feeders. gwh


Many thanks to Mr Phil Dunne for his kind donation of £5 towards the bird feed . yours GWH

Peanut Feeders

Hi all can you keep an eye out , i went down to top up the feeders on Friday and found some thieving '#/;+-* has pinched the peanut feeders, i have replaced them with some cheap ones , whats wrong with people they don't cost a fortune but give great deal of pleasure . GWH

Saturday, 24 March 2012

AGM Reminder

The First A.G.M. of the Cromwell Bottom Wildlife Group is this coming Tuesday, March 27th at the Mulberry Suite, Parsonage Lane, Brighouse at 7:15 pm. Refreshments, Slides. Link map.

All Very Welcome.

More of the visit on the 17th

Visit to Cromwell Bottom on 17th March 2012 to count frogspawn. The count so far was: Iron Pool 12, Tag Pond 24, Tip Pond 7, East Lagoon (eastern end) 12, West Lagoon (south side) 15, Total seen on that date 70

Also five more clumps at Tag

And more pictures of the flora: thanks Allan
Marsh Marigold
Flowering Current
Common Whitlow Grass

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Next Work Party

I’m planning to use the Countryside Service volunteers next Tuesday, March 27th to do some more scrub planting at Cromwell Bottom. We have a further 700 trees to plant, so hope to plant a further 300 of these on Tuesday. All more than welcome to join in.
Many thanks. 

Cheers, Robin.

Draft Interim Constitution

Hi all
Please find a copy of the Groups Constitution on this LINK

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Twite Recovery Project

Below is the link to RSPB web pages for the Twite Recovery Project.
A major part of this project is centred on the conservation of Twite in the South Pennines.  The South Pennines are the main stronghold of Twite in the UK but they are rapidly disappearing due to habitat loss and changes in farming practices.  The project hopes to encourage farmers and landowners to adopt Twite friendly practices including the preservation of traditional hay-meadows.  Last year, as part of this project, I made a video to raise awareness of the plight of the Twite and this is now live on the RSPB website, as well as the Twite Recovery Project and Pennine Prospects You Tube channels.
There is a possibility of the project being featured on the BBC in the near future, and I will post any further information as soon as I get it. In the mean time, if any birders come across any Twite in the South Pennines, please could they pass the information on to the Twite Recovery Project?  Contact details are on the RSPB website link given above.
Steve Cummings
 Photo. Brian Sumner

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Chiffchaffs Back

1 singing on the 16th of March at Tag Lock and one at the Fisherman's car park on the 18th.

Site Visit March 17th 2012

Ten of us, Anne, Shelagh, Barbara, Robert, Allan, Mike, Steve, Bruce, Dominic and Ben met at CB to count the frogspawn. In total we had 70 clumps, more expected in the next week or so. We looked also for newts but we were unlucky.
Some of the party

By the River Calder

 Frogspawn counting at "Tip Pond"
The guy behind the Camera

Steve in the reed bed, West Lagoon

Phragmites Beds at CB © M. Sykes

Flowering red currant   © M. Sykes
Petasites flower head    © M. Sykes   

Some of the plants seen at Cromwell Bottom L.N.R.
Lesser Celendine    © M. Sykes

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Making A Mealy out of it!

The Offending "Mealy" Redpoll was back again, sticking around long enough between the Bullying to get a few shots off! At one point there was another one just the same (making 2) but again gave up due to the relentless bullying. Every other Redpoll at the station laid into this fella the second he landed, pretty much pointing out a definate difference to the Lessers.
When the light catches it properly the "whiteness" stands out as in the third shot.

Afer a relatively quiet morning - thanks to the weather, I had Siskin (3 males) on the Niger Early on, there had also been an attempted visit from a Goldfinch, but the Redpolls didn't let it near the Niger.
Numerous Crows were hanging around wanting to raid the table, & 2 Males & one Female Mallard turned up to vacuum up the floor. Both Male & Female G.S.Woodies were visiting the Peanuts, & all the other usual suspects, including 3 pairs of Bullfinch.

A Possible new species? Lesser Spotted Coal Tit? lol.

A couple more of 2 of my favorites at the station.

Lets see if the weather improves for tomorrow!


Chiffchaff reported at Cromwell Bottom singing near Tag Lock yesterday.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

March 10th Working Party.

9 of us got stuck in and planted around 150 trees and bushes of 7 species.

Once again we were very fortunate with the weather.

More details and photos

Amphibian Walk: Saturday, March 17th

A reminder: There is a walk this Saturday at Cromwell Bottom, meet at 10:30 in the Fishermans car park to count the spawn and look at the site. Bird watching is also allowed! Bring some lunch.

Fly Flatts

We went up there yesterday (Wednesday) hoping for Wheatear, none about. We had 8 canadas, 2 mallard, 2 oystercatchers, several curlew and red grouse calling, Sky larks but only one mipit.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

At the Feeding Station

I have spent quite a few hours over the last few weeks at the feeding station enjoying the fantastic oppertunity to photograph the little squad of Redpolls there.
I thought I would post a few snaps as a taster of what has been around.

An everywhere bird - but the scarcest at the feeding station!
This one wants to be a Crossbill?

The local Comedians:

A few of the locals:

& my target Species:

One thing I have noticed on my pictures, the many subtle different markings on individual Redpolls.
Black spots on the beaks, varying black bibs, some have the black into the cheeks & varying chest specklings.

I've not had Siskin & Goldfinch at the feeders yet but they have been around the area, Jay, Sparrowhawk, & Great Spotted Woodpecker are feeding there when it's quiet.
Quiet meaning - not having a Dog running up, in my face & checking out the snacks in my bag! or nibbling on bits under the feeders.

Hope you enjoy the snaps - This is the first winter for the station, & look what's here already!

Monday, 12 March 2012


Whoopers on the ski lake today

Whoopers and shellduck

There were 6 whooper swans and 1 shelduck on the ski lake at Cromwell Bottom today.
(received via Grapevine)
Short video clip
Use u-tube full screen

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Walking at Cromwell Bottom

We were out walking around the reserve this Sunday looking at the bird feeders and nest boxes. An excellent job to all involved.
But while walking around, a speeding cyclist came shooting round a blind bend and narrowly missed us. We noticed that some of the "No Cycling" signs have been removed. The gates have no effect at stopping them. This puts us off going there, which is a shame as we enjoy the birds and are looking forward to the breeding season. It's only a matter of time until someone is injured or worse. Perhaps these maniacs will be brought to justice before it's too late.

Sat Night mothing at North Loop

Yellow Horned above and Oak Beauty below

A realy excellent start to the year with yellow Horned and Oak Beauty being the highlights.Clear skies and a cold wind can only mean its going an excellent spot later on in the year,Thanks to Bruce/CB for the key and brian, Martyn and damian for coming along.
Yellow Horned x 6
Oak beauty x 1
Common quaker x 32
Small quaker x 1
Twin spotted quaker x 5
satellite x 4
Hebrew character x 1
Agonopterix heracliana x2
Acleris Ferr/ notoa x 1
Caloptillia species to be identified x 1

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Pheasant at feeding station

I watched a male Pheasant at the bird feeding area today in the late afternoon today (Sat). Are they regular visitors to Cromwell Bottom. First time I have seen one there,

March 10th Workparty

Around 10 of us got stuck in and planted 100 plus trees and bushes of 7 species. Once again we were fortunate with the weather. More details and pictures to follow.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Little Owls


This blog, found by Street Burner has exceptional pictures of little owl. Well worth a visit. Thanks Chris for the link.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Work Party This Saturday

Just a reminder that there is an onsite work party this Saturday, March 10th. Meet in the Fisherman's car park (by the pallets) at 9:30. All Welcome

Bird Feeder Area

Please be aware that there are lots of frogs in the area now, so please be careful where you walk.

Thief at Work

What's he up to? © Michael Sykes

Not contented with a nibble, this grey squirrel is going to take the lot. Thanks Michael for the photo.