Monday, 23 October 2017

Bums on Seats at the Bottom!

Many visitors to the reserve comment that they would love a few more places to sit down for a while. Well, here's your chance to help make it happen.....
We're applying for a grant from AVIVA Community Fund and we need you to vote for us. We need at least  1000 votes.

Please follow the link and cast your votes for "Bums on Seats at the Bottom", and get everyone you know to do it too.

You can also help by putting a link to the voting on your Facebook page, emailing all your friends or doing a Tweet about us.
We were very grateful for all your votes 2 years ago when we got our pond dipping equipment with an AVIVA grant. Can we do it again?

Voting starts tomorrow and is open until 21st November, so please get cracking - you can have a sit down when we get the benches!

Thank you very much!

Thursday, 12 October 2017






                                MEET 9.30 AT THE CABIN

Thursday Work Day

If you're reading this but you've never been to a work day you might be wondering what gets done?

Well, here's  a quick round up of this morning's efforts:

1. The big blue cabin is getting a make-over - we are lining it out so it's a warmer place to be in, especially in winter when inside jobs are preferable!

At the moment it's mainly a woodworking session in here. Later we're aiming to get some lighting in and a few more fittings so we can build birdboxes etc in comfort. Do you fancy joining in?

How many volunteers does it take........

2. Some routine clean-ups of the bird feeding areas at the cabin and in the reserve also got done. We washed some of the feeders and did a round of refills. Down at the viewing area in the reserve we re-sited a couple of hanging feeders so that they are closer to the wheelchair access viewing area. We hope you and the birds will find them! We also brought the empties back - they'll go out next time. This was an enjoyable task on a fine morning like today, and the feeders dried quickly in a stiff breeze!

3. The weekly cabin cleaning session also happens every Thursday. Armed with a mop & bucket, dishcloths and elbow grease a really good clean of the kitchen and serving counter got done and a general tidy up all made the cabin look welcoming for the weekend.

4. Last, but definitely not least - several tea breaks allow for a friendly chat. We usually put the world to rights, plan a few more jobs to add to the never ending list and dream our dreams of what the reserve might be like in the future.
It's a very enjoyable way to spend a morning - so if you fancy joining in just come along to the cabins from around 9.30am on a Thursday. There's always something to do!

Meanwhile, across the tarmac in the compound .......

.......  there's a grand clean up going on following the completion of the bridge works and the area will be landscaped and planted to look much more inviting.
Exciting times ahead for us - come and be part of it.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017


Make the most of the fine weather forecast! Come down to the reserve at 9.30am for a practical day with Robin Dalton from Calderdale's Countryside and Woodlands Service and some of the Wildlife Group members.
We'll be doing a variety of Autumn jobs. No skills needed, just your time and and effort.
Refreshments at the cabins, bring a sandwich if you want to stay beyond lunchtime.
Everyone welcome!

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Autumn at the feeders...

Richard Tadman sent these photos, taken on a recent visit.

A beautiful female Bullfinch

Female Chaffinch

The inevitable Jay

And a perky squirrel

And finally........ a juggling Great Tit!!

Many thanks for sharing them Richard.

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Autumn Newsletter

The Autumn Newsletter has been emailed to all members today.
If yours hasn't arrived please check your junk mail and add to your safe list.... and check that your membership is up to date!

Friday, 29 September 2017

Car Park Fully Open

Dear members and visitors.

Our car park is now fully open now since the devastating floods and work to rebuild the bridge. Access is via the old footbridge or new road bridge. There is full access to the reserve as always and the Refreshment Cabin and toilets are open Sundays. 
Please only park in the car park or adjacent road.

Friday, 22 September 2017

Macmillan Cancer Support

We are macmillan. Cancer support  
All donations received at the Cabin on Sunday 24th September will be sent to Macmillan Cancer Support for their 2017 Big Coffee Morning appeal. Please call in and have a cuppa and cake and help this important cause.

We raised £250 on Sunday for Macmillan Cancer Support, thanks to the kind generosity of visitors.

Friday, 1 September 2017

Bird Survey Saturday 16th

A reminder that there is a bird survey tomorrow at Cromwell Bottom, September the 16th. 

Please meet in the car park at 10am for a two hour walk in various locations on site. This will be led by Mike Henshaw.

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Open Day 2017 - The Pictures

Our talented publishing team have done us proud! "Open Day - the Pictures" is hot off the press.
Wildlife Group members should by now have received an e-copy edition.

Please email if yours hasn't arrived.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Open Day

Fantastic Open Day. Great crowd and good weather. Everyone seemed to enjoy it. Many thanks to everyone who contributed to it and worked so hard to ensure it was a very successful event.

Lots of pictures HERE of the Open Day and the day before. Our members will have received a detailed account of our open day by now. If you have not received the PDF then please contact us.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Help Needed

To all our volunteers and friends
We will need some help on Friday the 11th of August at 09:30 am to check and erect some of our marquees ready for the Open Day.

Also on Saturday our Open Day, the 12th of August at 07:00 am we will need further help to erect the rest of our equipment, tables, chairs, signs etc.

Refreshments will be provided for volunteers. Toilets on site.

All events on the day are FREE.  Parking nearby FREE.  Refreshments available. 

Sunday 13th

A really BIG THANK YOU to all those volunteers and organisers who came along on Friday and Saturday morning to help erect our tents and marquees. Without these volunteers we would not have had the success we had. The weather and the hundreds of visitors made the day really special.

Friday, 4 August 2017

Moth trapping night

Is the moth trapping event scheduled for tomorrow night (saturday) going ahead?

This is listed as normal on our Blog and also our Web site. Please meet at the cabin or car park at dusk on Saturday the 5th. This will be led by Barry Nield.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Good in all weathers...

The Tag Loop Ponds are really proving popular now. On Monday Brighouse Central Scouts Group celebrated the end of term with a visit to the reserve for an evening of activities.  The weather was wonderfully mild and we all had a great evening together. Wild walks, bug hunting, bird watching, and pond dipping were all on the programme, followed by games and hotdogs back at the cabins.

All ready and waiting 

On Wednesday we had a much damper start for visitors from Greetland Primary School, but this didn't stop our enthusiastic pond dippers, who managed an impressive collection of beasts, including an adult common newt. As the day improved we had lots of damselflies and a couple of Common Darters around the pond.

As ever, the willingness of volunteers to turn up and run these events is vital. If you'd like to join our friendly bunch please get in touch via the link on this page. It doesn't matter whether your favourite activity is tea making or spider hunting - we'll find you a job!


Evening walk 25.07.17

Had a walk over North and tag loop on Tuesday evening , it was great to see all the red clover etc covering North loop. there is an account of the 30 species of moth we saw on the Calderdale Moth blogg .Please use records if needed.

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

An old pic

Found this on the net...................

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Little Egret

Little Egret seen around the reserve for the last few days
and a few Common Darters by the Dipping Pond.

Little Egret

Common Darter

Friday, 7 July 2017

At the Ponds

Thursday morning was warm and sunny - a great day for pond gazing. The first working group for a few weeks was small but busy. We added some water into the Tag Loop ponds as the levels were getting very low and took the chance to do a bit of pond dipping ourselves.
Damsel flies were dancing across the water and there was lots of action below the water line. We dipped a few creatures out for inspection - unfortunately some of them ate some of the others before we had managed any ID!

There were plenty of efts [immature newts] of varying sizes:

We also found dragonfly nymphs and watched them devour some of our other treasures - ah well! Here's a link if you'd like to know more about their life cycle: British Dragonfly Society

The ponds are a lovely place to be - please help us all to look after them. Keep children safe and keep dogs out of the water so that it stays clear and settled - thanks!

Monday, 3 July 2017

Moth night morning.

Had a wander on to Cromwell Bottom on Sunday morning to check last night's catch and had an interesting couple of hours sorting through moths with Bruce, Barry and others. All credit to the wildlife group for creating such a family friendly reserve. The highlight for me however was this leaf mine on Birdsfoot Trefoil in Tag Meadow of Trifucula cryptella - I can only find around four Yorkshire records for this species, of course there may be others.

Also on Birdsfoot Trefoil was this striking Coleophora mayrella (below) catching a bit of sun.

Monday, 26 June 2017

Walks and Moths. Friday, Saturday and Sunday

Friday, June 30th. There will be a Meadows Walk led by Robin Dalton. This walk will start at 1:30 pm. Please meet in the car park.  Refreshments should be available in the Cabin.

Saturday the 1st of July there will be another Moth Night led by Barry Nield. Moths fly just before dusk so meet then at the Cabin.

Sunday the 2nd of July Moth Morning. Call in at the Cabin from 10am until approx. 1:00 pm to see what we caught the previous evening.   Leader Barry Nield. Refreshments in the Cabin.

All welcome to these events.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

This Sunday 25th of June

 There will be a "Tree Walk" led by Bel Hale. This event is for all the family, Bel will describe and identify the trees found in the reserve. It will not be too taxing as it runs from 1:30 to 3:30.

There will be refreshments later in the Cabin. Meet in the Car Park by 1:30 this Sunday the 25th.

Friday, 2 June 2017

Moth Night!


We should be running a moth trap around the cabin area tomorrow night. Start time will be around 8.30pm, but it won't be dark until maybe 22.30.
All are welcome but from previous experience - we don't tend to catch anything until 30mins after it goes dark. So I expect the first moths to start to be captured around 23.00.
You could have a nice evening stroll around the reserve & come over to the Cabin towards 10.00pm for the trapping, get a nice cup on Tea & wait for the Action!

Meet at Cabin after 8.30pm for Kick off around 10-10.30pm.

Sunday Morning - All the captured Moths should be available for inspection Sunday Morning, where they will be photographed & released around 12-12.30pm.

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Pond Dipping

This event, due to held on Sunday May 28th has unfortunately been cancelled. This is due to illness and other unforeseen circumstances.
This event will be held in the near future. Keep your eye on the blog.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Saturday Work Party. May 13th

Saturday was one of our regular work parties. There were enough people to organise three groups. Some started with a cuppa. Guides and Scouts were also involved. David sorted three parties, box building, pond dipping area and bird feeding area, (shown below). All equipment was provided.

Work parties are every Thursday and second Saturday.
One of Saturday's 3 work parties. 

Photo by Rosemary Wright

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Today's Stroll

     A few pics from today and was nice to bump into  Dave F,
     at the lagoon and Dave L and Val at the cabin which was
     doing a good trade which was nice to see, I'm glad its
     getting plenty of visitor's. 28 species seen today and a
     few unid'd and plenty of birdsong but a lot not seen,
     it was good to hear the Water Rail at the lagoon.

                                          Dunnock with insect
                                          Goosander chicks
                                          Female Goosander
                                          Male Goosander



Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Last Night's Walk May 10th

Thirteen members and friends enjoyed a pleasant walk around the reserve last night the 10th. The weather was perfect. We ended up in the cabin for tea and biscuits. Our next walk is an early morning one this Saturday the 13th. Details in the previous post below.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Dawn Chorus Walk & Work Party 13th May

This is our second dawn walk. Last Saturday we had 25 species and 22 people. Not a bad count despite the cold NE wind.

There will be another dawn chorus walk this Saturday the 13th of May. Meet at 05:30 in the car park.
This will be led by Allan and others who will supply tea, coffee and bacon and egg butties later in the Cabin. Come and join us and blow those cobwebs from your hair. All Welcome.

Also on this day there will be a work party. Meet at the Cabin at 09:30. Come to one meeting or both.

Monday, 8 May 2017

DAWN CHORUS WALK Saturday May 6th 2017

 Saturday May 6th 2017

Robin’s and Chris’s Dawn walk was very successful with 25 bird species seen and heard. The weather was fairly gloomy and cold but it did not deter the birds or the humans.22 people including a number of children set out after a short  ‘be careful’ talk from Robin. We stopped at the Bailey bridge and noted blue tit and blackcap calling. Also in the distance a willow warbler’s song could be heard sounding as Shelagh described it as a falling waterfall of tuneful notes. Near the weir, unfortunately no sand martins, but there were 2 canada geese on the far bank, one of them with a gosling peeping out from under her wing and as we moved away she stood up and many of us saw 5 young ones scuttling to hide.

We continued past Tag ponds spotting common whitethroat,robin and willow warblers singing, perched on top of bushes. We  listened to the delightful song of a wren. “A bird that punches well above its weight in song “ Shelagh’s pen identifying bird song came in very useful.Down to the feeding station picking up more birds then onto the lagoon. 4-5 reed warblers noisily making their presence felt, defending their territories. A heron flew over and little grebes were calling.By now some children were feeling cold so we made our way back to the cabin. Here Robin and Chris set up camping stoves and very soon the tantalizing smell of cooking bacon was apparent. Bacon butties !! what a splendid way to finish a most enjoyable walk.Many thanks to everyone who took part.

There is another walk next Saturday 13th , May do come along. 

Tuesday, 2 May 2017


A fantastic weekend at Cromwell for singing Warblers , the hedgerows are now full of singing Blackcap , Willow Warbler , Chiffchaff ,Garden Warbler and the odd Whitethroat. In the Reed beds Reed Warblers can now be herd .A couple of Common Terns spent most of the bank holiday on the ski lake...Grey Heron , Swallows ,Kingfisher , Grey Wagtail  and  Buzzards were also about......Song Thrush , Reed Bunting ,  Bullfinch , Wren (must be the reserves commonest resident) , Blackbird , Robin , Mistle Thrush , Long Tailed , Blue,  Great and Cole Tits were also in good voice..

Friday, 28 April 2017

Chairpersons Report April 2017

The Chairpersons Report was given last Wednesday evening by Allan. He gave a full and comprehensive account of the past year.

Full Report here (click)

Monday, 24 April 2017

Get ready... and click!

Lots of people say how much they enjoy the photos on our blog. It takes some patience and a bit of cunning to get a photo you're pleased with so if you want to have a go at home in your own garden here are a few hints to get you started ...... from a total amateur!

  • Put small amounts of food out regularly – especially on bird tables. This keeps mess to a minimum and is healthier for birds as they are not eating old and mouldy food. Your birds will learn your routine and will be ready and waiting, so it's good to keep a camera or your smartphone handy.
  • Put out food they have to stay and eat, rather than things they can fly away with – larger pieces mean they have to peck bits off while you get your photo. Bread isn't really good for birds, so try fatty scraps, invest in some sunflower seeds or fat balls and meal worms [dead ones in packets are not unpleasant to deal with].
  • Wedge things like peanuts, fat or cheese rind into cracks in a stump or branch so they'll have to work a bit to get at them. Drill a few holes if necessary!
  • Get to know where the birds like to perch – some prefer to pause on a nearby branch or fence post to check things out before they approach. So set one up or trim back a few twigs if they are in your way.
  • give them some water too - a large plant tray will make a great bath for a flock of sparrows.

Whether you photograph them or not your garden will be a great place for birds - enjoy!

Monday, 3 April 2017

Chiffchaff Nature Reserve

      On a walk around the reserve today produced
      27 species and Green Woodpecker and Treecreeper
      heard but not seen, loads of Chiffchaff all over the
      reserve and the Little Grebes making a racket on
      the lagoon, I only seen one but it sounded like there
      were a few more on there, and 2 Goosanders were
      sunbathing up by the weir.

Friday, 31 March 2017

Toads breeding and a Brimstone Butterfly

This afternoon we had a walk round, checking a few birds' nests, and we saw a male Brimstone Butterfly flying over the Sphagnum Bog. The female apparently can be mistaken for a Large White, but this was a strong yellow, so I assume it was a male.

Ten Chiff-chaffs singing round Brookfoot and Tag Loops, and a singing Blackcap near Brookfoot Lock, my first Blackcap of the year. I know someone heard one already.

When we were on Tag Loop, near the pylon, I thought I heard toads chirping, and when we went up to the fence, we could see a colony of them breeding in the old lock. Spawn was visible among the water-plants now and again. I didn't know there was a breeding spot here. Does anyone know where Shelagh's mating pair would be heading. (Previous post.)

A pair of Long-tailed Tits were pecking lichen from the willows to cover their nest with a cloak of   invisibility (well almost.)

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

This female toad and her passenger were spotted this morning at the bund bridge on the lagoon, making their way towards the water.

Well spotted by Shelagh!



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.