Frog spawn rescue…

Sadly we are in the same position as last year!. The pond at Raw Nook NR which has a leak possibly in the clay at the bottom is quickly drying out.

The pond which was full following the recent heavy rain is drying out by the day.

Unfortunately this has a dramatic affect on our wildlife particularly nesting birds i.e Moorhens and our amphibians. A large mass of frog spawn has been laid and sadly…like last year it is stranded as the water shrinks.

Myself and Peter from YWT have been taking the spawn to the flooded woodland area in RN and when the water was higher I took 3 full bucket to nearby TH Beck.

A mass of frog spawn…stranded

Today I transported, with a small container (as the water is only about an inch deep) more spawn to the flooded area further inside RN.

With the amount of spawn at the site our rescue effort will not save all the spawn.

But at least some will have be saved and hopefully go on to breed next year.

Myself and YWT have raised the pond issue with the relevant body within the council and it was on their a gender for discussion.

However, the dreaded virus took hold as well as lock down and more important issues now have to be dealt with.

Sighting: A pair of Chiffchaffs were in early courtship as were a pair of Jay at RN. They may have been an influx of returning Meadow pipit moving north to their breeding grounds as a party of 15 flew overhead.

Dealburn Road aka Low Moor Banks…

You may recall that as well as keeping bio-logical records for Raw Nook NR, Caldene fields and TH Beck I also survey and record at the old Low Moor tip site off Dealburn Road opposite the Bradford council’s recycle plant on Dealburn Road BD12 0RG.

It’s really interesting as I used to watch and record gulls with other birders when it was an active tip site in the nineties, and my heart would skip a beat if I found ( what was then ) a rare gull like an Iceland or a Glaucous…

After the tip closed I lost interest in the site until 2012 but by then the site had been transformed by nature and my visits soon made me realise what massive ecological potential the area had to offer.

This photo illustrates my point 3 species of butterfly on a single Knapweed

I therefore started to survey, collate records and raise awareness of this south Bradford jewel all under the name of Dealburn Rd as there was no official name for the site.

However, now the site has a new name, which is Low Moor Banks… So I have amended all my records under the new site name.

Whilst myself and other suggested names for the site it was Peter Gurney, Community Nature Reserves Assistant from the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust that came up with the most suitable name of Low Moor Banks…

Chiffchaffs and busy bees…

There has been a small influx of Chiffchaffs into our area probably overnight with 1 at Caldene fields, 2 at Raw nook NR and 4 at Toad Holes Beck.

Queen Buff-tailed bumble bees were busy at RN with at least 5 observed going into nesting holes in the ground. I waited about 5 minutes for one to pop back up again…but no luck.

At least 3 Small Tortoiseshell were on the wing as was a Peacock sunbathing all at RN.

Peacock with a Chiffchaff calling in the back ground


Following government advice on social distancing all our groups work days have rightly been cancelled.

However, whilst fully supporting this advice I will be walking ( maximum once a day) in our area, alone, recording wildlife and updating this website unless government advice changes. So if I see you and I walk the other way..it’s not personal…ha

On a positive note I have noticed an influx of extra people using our area for walks…which is great and beneficial both for exercise and mental wellbeing. So keep walking and social distancing and I won’t be offended if you walk away from me…ha

So when out walking in our area (at a safe distance) listen for the wonderful spring call of the Chiffchaff…….Chiff…chaff…Chiff…chaff which has come all the way from southern Europe and north Africa to breed on OUR doorstep.

A total of 12 moths were in the light box this morning, 9 Common Quaker moths (excellent count) , 1 Common Plume and 2 Hebrew Characters moths

Common Quaker

Kingfisher lifts the spirits…

Whilst we are now living in unprecedented times with the coronavirus and self isolation my spirits were lifted on 21/3 at Toad Holes Beck with yet another spring sighting of a Kingfisher.

In fact there was an earlier (19/3) surprise at Caldene fields with another passage Stonchat resting on a wire fence. The first Chiffchaffs have arrived and both are calling with one at TH Beck and the other at Raw Nook NR. The pair of Grey Wagtails are still about which is good news for possible breeding.

Female Grey Wagtail

A further bit of positive news is the spring bulbs my grandchildren planted in the autumn at Raw Nook Nr are now bustling into life…

Whoopers are leaving…

A nice surprise this morning as I headed to the watch point at Caldene fields, 13 Whooper swans flew over head on their return journey home. Very few Meadow pipits were observed but a nice flock of 17 Siskin heading S was interesting.

The a distant call caught my attention a splendid male Reed Bunting was calling from the top of a Hawthorn bush at Raw Nook NR which nicely finished the morning off.

A site first and another Pheasant surprise…

This morning I found a bird species which I have never recorded in our area but have been expecting it for a number of year now. I saw a Stonechat Saxicola torquata sat on a house roof! it stayed there resting for a good couple of minutes before flying off to the west…an excellent start to the day.

I have not seen my friend the male Pheasant (with the damage tail) since the 1st of March. However, on Sunday 8/3 I was driving just outside our recording area when I saw another male Pheasant…with an undamaged tail…All very strange!

Noticed all so on Sunday at least 6 Meadow Pipits returning north to their breeding grounds over Caldene fields.

Pheasant surprise…

A bit of a strange sighting today of an adult male Pheasant in our area. This is my second ever record as I am not aware of any birds in the near vicinity to our recording area.

The thought crossed my mind, is the bird wild as it has parts of it’s tail feathers missing however, it was very wary suggesting it may well be wild and has come in from somewhere!

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