Tuesday, 31 March 2009

High Frogspawn yield at Calf Hey Reservoir..

Had a walk around parts of Calf Hey including Lower and Higher Ormerods, some really good lichen finds around the Ormerods (shown to the right) 1: Cladonia type and also the one below which I have not yet identified. Then went up to Long House and back to Top O'th Knoll and back around Calf Hey Reservoir track... we had several Meadow Pipit individuals heading straight through (though several back on territory within the Northampton area of Musbury Heights). On the reservoir there was 10 Goosander (9f & 1m) a pair of Goldeneye. A Green Woodpecker was yaffling and also there was a Great Spotted Woodpecker at the Car Park.. In the storm drains on Musbury Heights side there was an enormous amount of frogspawn (it measured approx 15feet x 5feet and probably 3-4" deep) a truly fantastic yield...(Click over photos to enlarge)..

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Climb to summit of Tor Hill....

Probably the main species to add colour to any degree was that common Moss again Polytrichum piliferum, both male and female (as shown in photos). There was a party of about 8 Meadow Pipits, and it was unclear to make out whether they where actually passing through or birds back on territory. An odd Pied Wagtail and a Green Woodpecker "yaffling" from over Musbury...I found some recent feathers on the summit of Tor and on getting them home and checking they had come from a Woodcock... (see photo) (Click over any photo to enlarge)....

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Old Railway Track, Holden Vale Flash & Camms...

A walk along the old railway track from Grane Road straightaway produced this early cowslip (Primula veris).

A slight deviation to the Holden Vale Flash which has plenty of Bullrush (Typha latifolia) in the margins. In the outlet there was one or two frogs and also this pair of Toads which where copulating.

Just a little higher up than where the Swinnel meets the Ogden, there where lots of Opposite-leaved Golden Saxifrage (Chrysosplenium oppositifolium) and also several clusters of Lesser Celandine (Ranunculus ficaria)

We checked out the old Camms Mill site where there is still much evidence of stone and brick ruins especially on the boundaries, and examples where found of two separate old brick manufacturing firms, The Metallic Brick Co of Accrington and the Lancashire Brick Company of Baxenden, firms long gone. Around this part a Kingfisher was heard to fly upstream.

On one of the more mature decidous trees we found this lichen (see photo). And below is a very old photo of Camms Mill which was demolished around 1910.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Harris Hawk & Barn Owl visitors at Clough Head Info Centre

Michael and Margaret who run the Lancashire Hawks and Owls where quietly having a butty at Clough Head today, and with them they had brought Jet their Harris Hawk and Purdy, their Barn Owl to have some gentle exercise. (Click over photo to enlarge)

If you want to check out their website just click here

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Hen Harrier going over Haslingden Moor today.

Plenty of frog spawn showing today not far from and to the back of Grane Information Centre, Some Meadow Pipits back on territories along with Skylark on the section of Haslingden Moor towards Doles. Close ups of Large female Hen Harrier being haressed by a single crow whilst it slowly made way West to East along the edge of the Moor. Found a new fern and moss (see photo), We do think the fern is probably Common Polypody (Polypodium vulgare) Also checked out at Doles and there are still a few of the old Haslingden bricks on view, two separate designs - one shown here. (Click over photo to enlarge)

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Vintage Grane Photo - Navvies who helped build Ogden Res

Holden Arms-Navvies who helped build Ogden Reservoir Early 1900s.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Some of Mike Valentine's Calf Hey Fungi & Lichen Photos


Alden Lane and Lodge

The lane to the rear of the White Horse Hotel at Helmshore is already producing Marsh Marigold (caltha palustris) with several flower heads, and heading further up the lane towards Alden there is some Hart's Tongue Fern (Asplenium scolopendrium) in the left hand side gutter (see photo and click over to enlarge). There are lots of lichens on the wall tops including the lemon coloured specimen (xanthoria parietina), I have still to identify others.

Just before reaching the cottages on the left was this very old digger. Closeby Some kind person was feeding the birds in the tree opposite with nut bags and it was attracting several Blue Tits and a early Reed Bunting which was nice to see. Just past the cottages to the right, some clearing work with a large mechanical digger was being carried out in the Woodland area, it was noticeable from a fallen sign that this Woodland area had been up for auction quite recently..

Reaching the Alden Lodge, an idyllic spot, we startled a solitary Moorhen and a pair of Mallard which where just relaxing and absorbing the little sun which occasionally would be on offer.. We heard the piercing call of a Kingfisher closeby..

Also there was this orange fungi called Wrinkled Crust (Phlebia radiata) -See photo on left - which was about 15ft up a mature decideous tree. Also a rotten fallen tree very near to the entrance stile produced this Black coloured fungi which is called Dead Man's Fingers (Xylaria polymorpha) and it was present all over the rotting trunk (see photo and click over to enlarge, and also click over photo 2 in fungi listings).

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Solved the mystery of Calf Hey's dissapearing water!!

Carried on from the other day walking around Calf Hey Reservoir but today it was grand to be dry. The waters had lowered considerably from even a couple of days ago See photo below . Checked out with Steven Duckworth (Farmer-Leys End) and he told me - United Utilities where allowing the Reservoir to empty on purpose because they where carrying out repairs on the Holden Wood Reservoir (the first reservoir) and they needed plenty of open volume available within Calf Hey should there be any chances of torrential downpour and in that case the Calf Hey would be then in a position to retain the water instead of it being driven down through the storm drains via Ogden and into Holden Wood.

This pair of Mallard above where in the Calf Hey Inlet lock, there was also 6 Goosanders (5 male and 1 Female)on the reservoir and a lone male Goldeneye. At the Car Park there was a large party of Goldfinch with some Brambling mixed in. Also a single Raven making its way west and as is usual calling. A pair of Green Woodpecker was yaffling at Grane Head.

Also had plenty of Water Cricket (Velia caprai) - See photo here on left . (click over to enlarge). Pussy Willow starting to bud at various parts. Also a great collection of Oyster fungus (Pleurotus ostreatus) Click on photo to enlarge. Near to Grane Head. (Thanks to Mike Valentine for identification)

Steve Duckworth came up on his quad to bring feed to the young cows, accompanied by two of the fittest sheepdogs I have ever seen...

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Calf Hey Reservoir was empty during 1984

I can remember the last time Calf Hey Reservoir was empty and it was the Midsummer of 1984 when we had a National drought and the North West Water Authority (as it was then called) took advantage of that situation to let the reservoir completely empty so they could carry out necessary repairs which had to be made to the Reservoir. I am glad now I took these photos at the time...
Here the photos show it completely empty during August 1984 and a couple more showing the reservoir starting to fill up again during December 1984. (Click over the photo to enlarge)

It was always said that Brown Trout could never survive in Calf Hey because of the high acid levels and I can remember about 7 years prior to this incident (1977 ish) that some local fishing club members put a few hundred brown trout fry of approx 4" in size into Calf Hey to see how they faired. Unknown to many the fish did quite well and in later years there where odd individuals who actually did a spot of fishing now and again and where known to catch trout averaging 14 to 18" in length. I can only presume the Trout got netted prior to the reservoir becoming completely emptied in 84. I cant say as I have seen any evidence of trout in the reservoir in recent years..

Calf Hey Reservoir details extracted from the Irwell Valley Water Board Report of 1939: Earth embankments and puddle core walls, completed in 1859. The first sod cut by Thomas Aitken on 18th May 1854. Average rainfall: 52.5 inches
Top water level: 800.00ft above Ordnance Datron.Length of Embankment: 1025ft. Maximum depth: 42ft. Capacity: 133.5 million gallons.
It does seem that Calf Hey Res was also empty at sometime during the 1990's as this photo shows and kindly given by Jackie Ramsbottom.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Cafe and Information Centre now back on track....

Today me and Charlie had walk around Calf Hey Reservoir and noted 5 Male Goosander and 2 male Goldeneye present.. also lots of Opposite-leaved Golden Saxifrage matting and in flower near to Grane Head. The Calf Hey Reservoir is at very low levels again today..

After about an hour we were rained off and decided to retire to the newly re-opened Cafe and Information Centre at Clough Head... Really good news to see the Cafe is back in full swing.. (Click over photos to enlarge)