Sunday 29 March 2015

Hx Sci Soc Annual Amphibian monitoring walk and new plant record for the reserve

We did the annual walk around Cromwell Bottom with the amphibians in mind.
Six people turned up, four members of HSS, plus two friends, one from Robertown, the other from Leeds but a regular visitor to Sowerby Bridge. They found out about the walk through HSS publicity, one by word-of-mouth, and one on a Facebook page.

We saw a good amount of frogspawn this year, with about 40 clumps on Tag Loop, and a large raft on Brookfoot Loop, at the traditional site opposite the way in to Pixie Wood - about 100 clumps here.
We failed to find any toads - I have only seen 2 out so far this year at another busy site at Boulderclough.

A member of the public had alerted me to "about 20" newts in the path-side pond which is part of Tag Cut, just downstream of the iron-coloured spring. We saw a few, and one I netted was a Palmate.
I had taken it home the night before, so I had one ready to show people at the beginning of the walk. At home it ate 2 out of the three small frog tadpoles that were in with it. I had heard they did this; now I'm satisfied it is a fact.

These newts appeared in this pond in mid-March, which seemed early to me, but Matt Wilson of Littleborough blogged that they are one of the first amphibians to return to the ponds. Perhaps their strategy is to feed up on early frog tadpoles before breeding themselves.

I had a report of frogs having spawned in the wheel-wash where we look for newts at night in April, but we weren't able to get into the compound on this survey - I should have organised that.


New Plant Record.
In Pixie Wood there are some young Bilberry Vaccinium myrtillis plants which is surprising as the fly-ash is said to be slightly alkaline. They must be growing in a thin acidic layer of humous.

Saturday 28 March 2015

Springtime Specials from our wonderful reserve area

                                                   Bullfinch (Male) at Bird Viewing Area
                                                    Robin at Bird Viewing Area
                                                   Great Tit at Birdf Viewing Area
                                                  Long Tailed Tit at Car Park Feeding Station
                                                 Nuthatch at Car Park Feeding Station
                                                    Robin at Car Park Feeding Station
                                                      Dunnock at car park feeding station
                                      Heron on its way to repair its nest at Cromwell Bottom
                                                    Goldfinch at Bird Viewing Station
                     Fungi at Tag Loop C.B.L.N.R ( I'm not sure what it is but its colours are amazing)
                                             Oyster Fungi at Tag Loop C.B.L.N.R
                                               Scarlet Elf Cup Fungi at C.B.L.N.R
                                       Blackbird (Male)at Cromwell Bottom Bird Viewing area
                                      Bullfinch (female) at Cromwell Bottom Bird Viewing area
                                          Great Tit at Cromwell Bottom Bird Viewing Area
                                         Coal Tit at Cromwell Bottom Bird Viewing Area
                             Reed Bunting (Female ) at Cromwell Bottom Bird Viewing Area
                              Reed Bunting (Male) at Cromwell Bottom Bird Viewing Area
                             Reed Bunting (Female) At Cromwell Bottom Bird Viewing Area
                                         Great Tit at Cromwell Bottom Bird Viewing Area
Allan's photo of one of our many bullfinches I put on Twitter has had so many likes its been entered into the monthly competition on Wildlife Sightings UK. You can see it and vote for it here

Work Party 27th March

7 volunteers, including "Treesponsibility" meet at 10 am to plant saplings on the North Bund. I had to leave around 12 noon when around 150 had been planted. Only 500 to go!

Tuesday 24 March 2015

In between the showers at lunchtime one of a pair of grey wagtails below the weir

Whooper Swan's

These are the 37 that passed over the reserve on Sunday 22nd March

Monday 23 March 2015

Weekend At Cromwell

Saturday was very quiet really - Didn't get too many people around until late afternoon, even managed 1hour at the feeding station without seeing another human being go past.
All the usual suspects were about Bullfinch, Chaffinch, Tits, Reed Bunting, Wren, Robin, Magpie, Crow, Jay, Dunnock, Blackbird, Dipper & Grey Wagtail on the river near the weir, Canada Geese assaulting people on the canal for food. A few Chiffchaff calls were heard, with one zipping around the feeding station for flies on Sunday, I believe 37 Whoopers flew over in the morning too, if I've got Mikes count correct & Buzzards were circling & calling over the farmland. I had a surprise late on Saturday with a Stock Dove coming down to route around for some free seed, there were 2 in the trees at the back near river, so we may have a pair looking for a breeding site.

A few snaps from the weekend.

Normally I don't give these a second thought but this Dunnock seemed insistent that I take some snaps of it.
I grabbed a shot of another I don't bother with too much.
Robin Singing at me again!
Reed Buntings were pretty regular.

I had a good day for capturing the Coal tits, this time I was quicker than they were!
 This one below seems to have been raiding bud heads, with a face full of pollen type bits.

Last but not least - The wonderful Dumplings, Bullfinches everywhere!



Friday 20 March 2015

Eclipse 09:25 to 09:40

The Sun and Moon as seen from Cromwell Bottom Reserve.

Before and after maximum. Luckily there was a strong cloud haze so pictures were easy.
The maximum unfortunately, was hidden behind cloud.

Also nearby, this colourful bracket fungus. A few Chiffchaffs around now. Little grebes noisy on the lagoon.

Photos and Nature Reserve Recommendations

Enjoy this series of images taken at the Feeding Area during this past autumn and winter. 

I didn't get down to the reserve as much as I'd planned, so no 'exotics' in this series. Hopefully, next year will be better. 



Great Tit

Coal Tit


Blue Tit


Great Tit


On a second note, and following on from Bruce's recommendation of Denso Martin Reserve, here are another three suggestions. All a little further afield, but with a holiday coming up...

Low Barns Visitor Centre, near Bishop Auckland, run by Durham Wildlife Trust. A photography group is based there and has a very good feeding area set up for photographers. 

Far Ings NNR, on the south bank of the Humber, run by Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust. An option to Blacktoft in this area and close to Worlaby which is good for owl sightings at certain times of the year. 

Last, Attenborough Nature Centre, run by Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust. I discovered this via images on Flickr and have added it to my list of places to visit, so can't personally recommend it but the website promises a good time!

Ric J