From the undergrowth: Welcome to our new nature feature

The Cromwell Bottom wildlife group
The Cromwell Bottom wildlife group

Spring is sprung, the grass is ris. I wonder where the birdies is! An old folk lore ditti.

Well there down at Cromwell Bottom Local Nature Reserve - and for those of you who don’t know where it is, it’s on the Elland Wood Bottom road between Elland and Brighouse, and what a gem it is - we are the wildlife group that look after the reserve with Calderdale Countryside Services.

This is the first of a monthly spot on nature, not only on the reserve but of the general area.

On the reserve we have a large feeding area for the birds and this week as well as all the usual suspects i.e. Blue, Great, Coal and Long Tailed Tits, Bull Finch, Chaffinch, Robins, Dunnock, Reed Bunting, Wren, Sparrow Hawk and Buzzards overhead we had our first Greenfinch - not a rarity but we just don’t get them down - and also Chiffchaff. You know it’s Spring when you hear them, and the Dippers that are nesting.

One that caused a bit of a stir was a Reed Bunting with strange markings. Various names were banded around. However, after a call to the British Ornithological Trust it was deemed a first year male changing plumage from winter to summer but we are keeping an eye on it just in case it turns out to be rare.

Green Woodpeckers have also been calling early in the morning. On Sunday we were talking in the car par when a male Sparrow Hawk nearly took off Nigel’s nose and the hawk shot through the trees. When we looked up the female was circling and the male joined her to do the mating dance - a superb sight. Bees are starting to come out and look for suitable places to set up a hive and we had the first Peacock butterflies flying, not looking their best as they have probably over wintered but good to see.

I love this time of the year. Everything seems fresh Hawthorn and Blackthorn are in bud and bloom. The cherries are starting to flower and it just gives you a good feeling to be out with nature.

In the area, 64 Hooper Swans were seen at Walshaw Dean. Bramblings have been feeding on the Beech mast at Crimsworth Dean, Wheatears have been seen in Northowram as well as Soil Hill and six were spotted at Ringstone Reservoir. Twite have been seen at Delph Quarry.

On the work front, we have a working party of volunteers and in March we were fixing some of the perimeter fence as well as clearing some of the wooded areas that are becoming overgrown.

If you have some time to spare and fancy helping out, we will be glad to see you as we have a mountain of work to do.

We meet in the Fisherman’s car park on the second Saturday of the month at 9.30am.

On Wednesday, April 23 at 8pm we are having a newt night where we look around the ponds for newts, frogs, etc and do a count. If you would like to come, please meet in the car park and dress accordingly. Wellies are a must and bring a torch and a warm drink.

For more information, visit us at www.cromwellbottomwildlifegroup/blog.