Friday, 14 April 2017

16th April - Sycamore buds will burst

I always say that the leaves on the trees in Settle will start to come out on 16th April.. well the sycamores anyway (The ash are much later).
However it will be the 15th today.. and by 14th some trees had VERY VERY swollen buds.
The hawthorn leaves have been out a while.

Still we have had mild weather for nearly all the past 4 weeks; The Meadow Foxtail flowers were coming out in Settle Churchyard today.

See what I wrote two years ago.

Settle Passion Play 2017

Fri 14 April 10.30-12.  

The threat of rain did not deter crowds coming to see Settle Passion Play. The cloudburst at 10.30am fizzled away by the Garden of Gethsemane Scene (below) and finally a patch of blue sky came at midday at the Crucifixion scene in the church garden of Settle Anglican  Parish Church

Here is the scene in the Garden of Gethsemane  (AKA The Millennium Gardens, Booths Car Park Settle)  where Jesus (right) is praying and the disciples fall asleep.

But the story is not all romantic looking like the above. It is a cruel story. You cannot be squeamish about Good Friday
The Bishop of Our Diocese (Bishop Nick) was on "Thought for the day" on Radio 4 this morning"
He said:
Good Friday is not for the squeamish – however over-familiar we might be with its story of suffering. Yet, the world is not for the squeamish either. According to the Institute for Strategic Studies nearly half a million people have died in conflict in the last couple of years. Add to them the fact that the world now has nearly 22 million refugees – half of them under eighteen – and you can see the problem.... I have just spent a week with bishops from places like Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Sudan whose stories sometimes are hard to hear.

Jesus was played by 21 year old Joe Dillon of Hellifield seen here at the beginning washing the disciples' feet.

The producer and director was Michael Cullingworth of Settle - who also played Pilate again.

This is the 10th year Churches Together in Settle have produced the Passion Play  play "Journey to the Cross", and each year  new items have been added.

Here two servants ask the disciple Peter "Are you with Jesus?"  Peter denies it - and then the cock crows.

Pilate looks down to Caiaphas and Jesus

Jesus, Caiaphas and the court look up to Pilate

At the end, after Jesus body has been carried away by the centurion and the crowd quietly is dispersing we are left with the bird-song and the haunting theme of a violin playing "There is a Green hill" and are left to ponder on these things.

Click here for pictures and videos of the 2016 Passion Play   e.g.

On Sunday 16th you are welcome at one of my favourite services of the year - 6.30am "Dawn" service - this year held in Millennium Gardens, near Booths, .. followed by breakfast at the Quaker Meeting House.

We have MESSY CHURCH on Sunday 16th  too -- DO come to St John's - Families and individuals of all ages and all denominations or none welcome .. A special Easter Celebration - That the Love of God goes on and is for all.  3.30pm-5.30pm. Includes hot meal.

Sunday, 9 April 2017

YNU York Conference 2017 - on Natural History Societies

  Twitter Hashtag:  #ynuconf

Just over 100 people found their way to the Hendrix Building on the Heslington West Campus on 8 April 2017. Sharon, Peter and I had set off early to reach the building by 8am, ready to set up our stalls

Topic of YNU Conference 2017:
Yorkshire’s Natural History Societies – for naturalists, for nature, for the future
Here is the Craven Conservation Group Stall

It is next to the entrance; Here Colin and Paula (left) visit the stall

Caddis Recording Stall - with extra publicity for the Field Studies Council courses

Now you can see the size of the main hall:  Phillip Whelpdale from the YWT describes results of data analysis

See the programme

We had two talks- by Roger Morris (A hoverfly expert)  and Roger Key. Both explained how society had changed over the past 150 years, and how outreach needed to change. Many societies had started 150 years ago when people lived in small towns, and the easiest way to exchange ideas (often the only way)  was to meet in the towns. Now people could "meet online".  
Roger  Morris
Roger Key

Derek Whiteley gave a talk on the lively activities of Sorby Natural History Society. (which incudes the city of Sheffield).  (See a picture of him at the YNU VC 64 event at Colt Park last year) He explained how their society (an amalgamation of three other societies over 100 years ago) had adopted a rectangular area to cover: Sorbyshire - which includes parts of Derbyshire, Notts, Staffs and Yorkshire - and includes part of Yorkshire's third National Park: the Peak District.

They flag ship events  - the annual Amateur Symposium ("Amateur = for the love of it", "Symposium = Drinking Festival") and the 18 mile Mountain Hare walk.

He and his wife used to run events for children - which was good for the children, but had not helped the society itself. Now they run family events. They run training days - which are popular with students.  I liked one of his quotes: "Nothing like a blank square to get you up in the morning"

Wendy English,

of Whitby Naturalists’ Club talked about "Communicating with members and beyond".. Whitby club sounds more the scale of Craven Conservation Group - a small town with a big hinterland.  They have a closed Facebook group with 27 members where they post local sightings which they find useful. They have a twitter account: @WhitbyNats

She told us about @projectsplatter - you can tweet to them if you come across roadkill - run over badgers etc - or email them direct = They are based at Cardiff University.

We broke into groups of about 12 and discussed in the groups how we could get more younger people to join. 

I think this was a good idea. Maybe not all the groups worked but some did. Possibly 12 is quite a big size, when you don't know most of the people, and the group just meets for a short time. I am glad I took a photo to remind myself who was in my group.  John Bowers was the chair of our group.
 One man Malcolme Birtle (Cleveland Nats) said he had worked for Universities and in IT and seen lots of different organisations use different technologies to try and recruit new younger members .. but that the only method which seemed to work throughout was personal contact.
"Hm" I thought - "So that whilst it is good for our brains and our egos to be involved in modern communications - I can go back to the 90 members of CCG and tell them that WE ALL COUNT, we can all contribute to getting new members - whether we are "Online" or not."

Maybe it's just that we ALL ought to put more effort into encouraging much younger people.

Jim Pewtress told us that he mentors people about Spiders . He recommended "Wild Guides". Later we learned that a "WildGuide" to spiders is due out shortly (Geoff Oxford is one of the co-authors)  but if you apply before the end of April, you can get it at a prepublication discount- go to the British Arachnalogical Society Website - for £16 plus P&P instead of £25

Our group brilliantly broke up two minutes early so we trotted to the front of the lunch queue - Thanks John.

Over and after lunch we had time to look at the many stalls.

But it will take me a while to put up pictures of them.. and to write up the afternoon's session.

Tonight (10 April) I go to Craven Speakers Club at Skipton. (At Speakers Clubs we learn to improve speaking skills  and they are really good fun. I recommend them); Tomorrow I am leading a green morning at Baildon Methodist Church (for anyone interested)

Tomorrow afternoon I attend Baildon Speakers Club.

After that I will get down to finishing the write up of the YNU day.


Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Exploring Baildon Ready for Eco-Walk

Sloe beside church
On  Tue 11 April I am leading an

 Eco-walk & Meetup-Morning - Baildon Methodist Church

followed by a tour of Green Features of Baildon Methodist Church,
followed by LUNCH
followed by the separate option of staying on to Baildon Speakers Club to see how people gain tips, tricks, techniques and practice to become more confident and effective speakers (Everyone could benefit from this)

Here are some of the photos I took yesterday (4 April) when I went for an  hour's "recce"

The same  sign, seen from below the apple tree

There are a few wild flowers in the church garden below the apple tree - aka-weeds - Here is Common Dog-violet

Here is Ivy-leaved Speedwell

Next to the west porch is a cotoneaster bush with jolly berries.
Apparently the birds only east these if they are REALLY desperate-They are not juicy.

I set off on a walk, up towards Baildon Moor.

Looking downhill from Green Lane, Baildon

Baildon Hill
See Bradford spread out behind.
Summit 282m = 925ft  and the River Aire below - 60m  196ft

 If I walked diagonally forward to my right for five miles I would be on Ilkley Moor.

Oh, Hello -- a new friend!

In returning via the golf course, and Baildon Moor I found a bilberry bush.. and the flowers were just appearing - Early! - I did not expect to see them fully out till June.

April Bilberry flower!
Interesting that this part of Yorkshire (classified as Leeds)
chose Bilberry as their favourite flower in a survey by Plantlife

As I returned to the centre of Baildon, before going down the hill to Shipley to catch the train -- I saw the banner saying Baildon will be welcoming the Tour de Yorkshire - I looked at the map and see it only goes to the lower part of Baildon by the river Aire, not the high part I have been on.

I am looking forward to meeting the group next Tuesday. If I have time I'll put up some more pictures
 another day

Monday, 3 April 2017

Easy fun holidays to gain naturalists' skills

Have you ever passed Malham Tarn Field Centre and wondered what goes on? 

Have you a secret desire to become a better naturalist - whether its learning how to identify the flowers you see on your walks, or the fascinating creatures that live in streams, which help scientists determine pollution levels? 

Would you like to become an expert in identifying:
Flowers, Sedges, Grasses, Bees, Adult Caddisflies, Stoneflies and Mayflies,  Marine Mammals, Bees, Seaweeds, Fungi, Mosses....

What a choice!!

Have you heard of the Field Studies Council? 
It is a group of 17 Field Centres, 14 of which are residential like Malham, scattered though England Wales, Scotland and N Ireland. 
They run courses for naturalists and geographers and holiday-makers and families. 

Well this weekend 31 March -2 April there were two courses:

The was a First Aid Course and Risk Assessment Course for nine FSC visiting Tutors. I attended this.

THe second was an OU Environmental Science course - on Hydrology and Meteorology in the Field  I went in one evening to see what they were doing.  They were working out how water was flowing across the Peat Bog - and used Pigotts's Paper to help them. Donald and Margaret Pigott had carried out research on Pollen Analysis and made sections through the Peat Bog.

As a resut of our chat, the adult students discovered you can do all sorts of different courses at Field Centres, from a day to a week long, some of which help people to become much better at identifying different groups of organisms.

And some of the students on the  OU course wished they could become better at identifying the plants and animals they were finding.

As an example of what goes on in different centres, I now list the courses that we (the First Aid Students) would be teaching later in the year:

Judith teaches a long weekend course on Limestone Flowers at Malham and later one on Sedge Identification.
She is running a weekend on Identifying Grasses using Vegetative Features to be held at Juniper Hall (near Box Hill, near Dorking) the last weekend of April. And you can spend a whole week at Kindrogan Field Centre near Pitlochry in July  with her on a Grasses Course. “We see lots of wild flowers too and lots of beautiful scenery” she says…

Also on the course were Peter and Sharon Flint who run two courses at Malham: one on Identifying Adult Caddis, Stoneflies and Mayflies, and one on Freshwater Invertebrates.

And Julia Pigott and Martin Hoggard who run a course on bee keeping at Flatford Mill Field Centre

And June Chatfield who is running a course on Land Snail Identification at Juniper Hall, one on Beginners Fungi at Margam discovery Centre, South Wales, and others on Mosses, and Beachcombing there too.

Jane Pottas is running a course on Introduction to Seaweeds at Millport in Scotland.

 Dominic McCafferty is running a course on Marine Wildlife (especially Mammals) and using I-Record - at Millport FIeld Centre on the island of Great Cumbrae 36 miles west of Glasgow.

Lent: Week 5: No new food: (Except a one off stack of Veg in week 4) - Success then..

You remember I have been buying NO food for myself to bring into the house for Lent - with the one exception after 3 weeks  when I bought a stack of fresh and frozen vegetables (carrots, potatoes cauliflower frozen spinach), some eggs and some pure Quorn and butter. )

I had a really good week 21-28 March - NO meals out, no trips to the garage for bargains - Just the one trip to buy the vegetables I showed you last week. Two visits to the swimming pool, and the walk up Fountains Fell.

I was rewarded by a 3 lb loss… I had got back into target range - for Slimmers World  (though still another 1 1/2 lb to get to target) and won (joint) slimmer of the month!!

If this were a fairy story it would stop there.


But it isn’t .. and there are still two weeks of Lent left.

So how did week 5 go?

On Wednesday it was my turn to provide the coffee, milk, cakes, hot-cross-buns for Settle Churches Lent meeting and a pint of Milk. Guess what - although I gave all the spare biscuits away, I came home with a packet of 7 hot-cross buns, and two slices of Lesley's cake.
Delicious - and all gone - eaten (by me) within 24 hours.

Friday was a barbecue to celebrate a friend’s new office opening.

Friday night to Sunday lunchtime was a Residential First Aid course and Training Course at Malham Tarn Field Centre - I.e.five “meals out” - where the food is excellent - and just can’t be refused… 

So Hey Ho. Let's see what the score is tomorrow.

It announced on the News that people in the NW of England are the worst couch potatoes in England. - that a lack of exercise is now causing as many deaths as smoking across the world..

It is recommended that adults do 150 minutes of moderate exercise, such as brisk walking, cycling or gardening, each week. - Doing less than this is considered inactive!!!

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Fountains Fell Lichens and Mosses

 It took 45 minutes to walk the 2 km up from the car at 433 m to the summit of the Pennine Way footpath on Sun 26 March, but only 30 minutes to get back down.  (The true summit is a bit higher: 668 m = 2192 ft) The left shoe is pointing to wards Ingleborough and the right to Pen y Ghent.

Tetraplodon mnioides - growing on a carcass- but only bone is left.

I puzzled over this till I realised it was Hypogymnia physodes growing on heather

Hypogymnia physodes

Micaria lignaria  growing on
an old piece of projecting peat.
I had to be back at Settle - Anley - by 2.30. I left the summit at 1.30 and walked  /jog-walked down with three Pennine Way Walkers to the road, and made it to Anley including changing to best clothes.

Globe-Flower Wood 2 April

Poppy Wood or Globe-Flower Wood is triangle of wood that is situated where the road from Settle divides and you go left for Arncliffe and right to Malham.

Grass and crops do not grow between October and April because the temperature is too cold - It needs to be above 6 degrees.

But at the beginning of April there are signs of life.

There are no flowers in bloom in the reserve,  but on the verge just outside there are a few Colts-foot heads. When you look close you can see they are made up of tiny five petalled flowers.

Someone had left three sandbags on the verge. Had they dropped off a lorry? It was two Sundays that we had torrential rain, and they may have been needed somewhere then.

I looked at the Lichens on the wall
There is more obvious lichen cover on the west side than on the south facing wall.

Solonspora candicans
The thallus is very VERY white and thick and placodioid at the edge. It has back discs in the apothecia and a white rim.
This orange furry material is an alga, not a lichen. It is Trentepohlia aurea  It looks a bit like a Nationa Geographic fleece.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Lichens of Silurian Greywacke

I have been making a display of activities of Craven Conservation Group ready for the YNU Conference on 8 April. The display is based on a map of our area of North Craven. I'll show you it another time.  In doing so I have discovered that our area has the oldest rocks in Yorkshire. 

Here I am sitting on some of these rocks. (With Fountains Fell in the background)

The Silurian (443Myr-419Myr) and Ordovician (485Myr-443Myr ) rocks are 450 Million years old (ish). They got worn away and then became covered by the sea; Then 350 Million years ago in this sea, limestone formed on top of them. There is thus a gap in time of 100 million years between the Silurian "slate" and the Carboniferous Limestone. This line is called an "Unconformity".

Water sinks into the cracks in limestone, but cannot pass through the slate so comes out in Springs.  On Sunday 19th we had lots of rain at Settle and the springs appeared in many places, marking the unconformity. Our Geology Tutor noticed that in his trip to Crummackdale. I just noted that the road at Studfold was flooded on the way to Horton Marmalade Festival, got to the Church bought lunch and came home as quickly as I could.
The old rock is actually not slate because it has a lot of particles in it of mixed sizes. This type of rock is called Greywacke. 
 Greywacke  is a poorly sorted sandstone containing fragments of rock and minerals in a clayey matrix.  
Formation of Greywacke

On 15th March I set off on a walk north of Sannat Hall, near Stainforth. On returning I descended through a field with the bedrock showing.  The rock is an acid rock so has different lichens to the  limestone higher up the hill.

This is Candelariella coralliza

It is bright yellow, and grows on exposed acid rocks where birds perch. It has a thick areolate thallus (the thallus forms little islands) Dobson says it is rarely fertile; this patch is. (Someone just may tell me it is C vitellina.. I must admit the in the picture here, the thallus is not as thick as that which we found at Turf Hill or that I found at Wrynose Pass)

Or maybe the fruiting bodies are C vitellina, and the more cracked, yellower thallus nearby is C. coralliza.

Hey ho, the granules do appear too flattened for  C. coralliza

Xanthoparmelia conspersa This is a splendid lichen.
I had become excited when I found it three months earlier just above Stainforth .. I suppose only half a mile away from where I was now.
We found some at Eycott Hill at the edge of the North Lake District, three years ago. The thallus lobes up to 3mm wide overlap; It has coralloid isidia

Or on video:- 

I think the next lichen is Tremolecia atrata 

though to be sure it is not Rhizocarpon oederi I woud have to check the spores to make sure they are simple, and not muriform as in  R oederi

Next there is Acarospora fuscata

Stereocaulon  evolutum

This branches spread more from the base than does S vesuvianum. The phyllocladia are wider than the pseudopodetia, and are flattened, almost digitate

(Even if this photo is vesuvianum, the piece I brought back with me was evolutum)

Next is Parmelia omphalodes  It is reddy brown

The next one is Physcia

Physcia caesia I think.

This next one is a mystery lichen - any suggestions?

It is on the same acid rock as the other species above.

Here we have a jelly lichen. The fruiting bodies are on stalks, ant there are no isidia - so I am guessing it is Collema polycarpon It was growing on the acid rock but it was being flushed with lime rich water and growing near base loving mosses such as Scorpidium cossonii  

The next is a video. I think it may well start with Nostoc, and finish with Scorpidium cossonii, but in the middle there is some Collema.

This next one was one of the most beautiful lichens .. then I realised it was just Leanora muralis. It grows near the cnetre of large towns on paving stones, and I think on the tamac of horton churchyard.  Dobson says "Often on acid rocks, rarer in its natural habitat of bird-perching sites in uplands

Here's a view looking along the limestone. The Silurian rock is to the right and lower down. The limestone is covered by glacial drift and the Yoredale series to the left

Yes I still have my Christmas Pudding hat .. It was Christmassy cold weather.