An unexpected appearance

Yellowhammer Emberiza citrinella, adult perched on bramble stalk facing camera. Glasgow Scotland
Yellowhammer Emberiza citrinella, adult perched on bramble stalk facing camera. Glasgow Scotland

This month has not been spectacular for unusual species but for the unexpected appearance of a Yellowhammer, this bird is as its name suggests is bright yellow almost like a Norwich Canary.

The feeders have had large numbers of regulars and around the reserve Roe Deer and a Fox known as Popeye have been sighted.

Popeye has been around for a while he has only one good eye and has a limp but he seems to be thriving,

The Herons are busy nest building and Blue Tits and Nuthatch have been fighting over the same nest box. We certainly missed the boat this year with the recording and cleaning of the fifty plus boxes.

The seasons are changing we would normally be cleaning the nest box’s now for the new season but a lot are already taken up and have been for a while.

The early start of birds pairing up and claiming a home took us by surprise. By the middle of February we realised it was going to be just too late to check them.

Well never mind the birds will still do their thing and multiply without us but this autumn we will not make the same mistake and the boxes will be checked and cleaned.

Out and about there were good sightings of the Snow Bunting at Soil Hill a Gadwall duck and Goldeneye at Mixenden resavoir and six Buzards at the top of Jay House lane and a Barnicale Goose at Ogden.

All observations of birds or anything else of interest should be sent to our recorder

This month sees the launch of our biggest projects to date, we are starting a fund to raise £2400 for a Sand Martin wall.

This will be situated on the river bank on north loop and will be visible from the reserve side of the river.

Sand martins are the smallest European hirundines (martins and swallows), with dark brown upper parts and dark under wings contrasting with otherwise pale under parts divided by a distinctive dark chest bar. Agile fliers, feeding mainly over water, they will perch on overhead wires or branches. Over the past 50 years the European population has crashed on two occasions as a result of drought in the birds’ African wintering grounds.

In Calderdale we have sightings along the river Calder but only eleven reported nests, probably due to the lack of suitable nest sights.

By placing the Sand Martin wall above the river we hope eventually to have a colony in Calderdale for the first time in a number of years.

The Sand Martin wall is made from recycled material and consists of 48 chambers each chamber has a tube leading to the outside and at the back a door to enable cleaning out in winter and the whole structure is raised up to protect the nests from predators.

The second project is to try and raise £5000 to re excavate and line one of the ponds by the old Tag Cannal,

The pond is very shallow and needs to be deepened and lined, two ponds will be created and one will have a pond dipping platform for children to learn about pond life such as newts, frogs, toads and dragonflies.

To achieve these targets we will have to apply for grants, organise fundraising events, public and hopefully business donations.

Not everything costs thousands of pounds bird food costs £3 a day, bird boxes £10 and six toeight foot trees cost £20.

Anyone wishing to donate the smallest amount will be appreciated and can do so on our web page at Cromwell Bottom Wildlife Group and click on the donate Banner at the top of the page , anyone wanting to send by post can send it to Graham Haigh 16 Abbey Walk Coronation Roadd, Halifax. HX3 0aAJ

If any buisness would like to contribute we will be more than willing to give you some advertisment on our web page.