Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Please note that all posts will appear BELOW the AGM notice until 26/4/17

C:\Users\user\Documents\Cromwell Bottom Banner_6.jpgWe will be holding our 6th
Annual General Meeting
On Wednesday the 26th of APRIL 2017
at 7:30pm in the Mulberry Suite
Brighouse Sixth Form College
Off Parsonage Lane Brighouse HD6 1FG
The Group is formed from local people who are passionate about its Nature Reserve; the committee is holding an AGM to vote in a new committee. Positions for election are Chair; Vice Chair; Treasurer; Fundraiser and Secretary PLUS 7 position’s for members without portfolio.   

If you are interested in standing for election in any of the positions please contact me before the 31st of March 2017 if possible by e-mail/ post / or phone: Allan on  07810 004401

This meeting will include an election of people to serve on the committee for a 12 month period. Any member wishing to be nominated please contact Allan or any member of the committee.
Many thanks to all the Committee for the last 12 months of dedicated service.

AGM Agenda for the AGM

1. Introductions and welcome
2. Apologies for absence
3. Minutes of the last AGM (13/04/2016)
4. Matters arising
5. Chair’s annual report
6. Acceptance of report
7. Presentation of accounts
8. Acceptance of accounts
9. Election of trustees for the year 2017-18
10. Motions to and from the Committee
11. Membership fees
12. Slideshow and talk on ‘The Wildlife of Mull and Shetland’ by David Langley, Barry Nield and Allan Wolfenden
13. Any other business and closing remarks
14. Refreshments

Members of the 2016-17 Committee Seeking Re-election

Allan Wolfenden (Chair)

David Langley (Vice-chair)

Shelagh Brooke (Secretary)

Bruce Hoyle (Treasurer)

Margaret Conroy (Fundraising)

Simon Day

Stuart Fleming

Mike Henshaw

Barry Nield  

Nigel Reed

Jane Uttley

All Welcome to come along


Monday, 24 April 2017

Get ready... and click!

Lots of people say how much they enjoy the photos on our blog. It takes some patience and a bit of cunning to get a photo you're pleased with so if you want to have a go at home in your own garden here are a few hints to get you started ...... from a total amateur!

  • Put small amounts of food out regularly – especially on bird tables. This keeps mess to a minimum and is healthier for birds as they are not eating old and mouldy food. Your birds will learn your routine and will be ready and waiting, so it's good to keep a camera or your smartphone handy.
  • Put out food they have to stay and eat, rather than things they can fly away with – larger pieces mean they have to peck bits off while you get your photo. Bread isn't really good for birds, so try fatty scraps, invest in some sunflower seeds or fat balls and meal worms [dead ones in packets are not unpleasant to deal with].
  • Wedge things like peanuts, fat or cheese rind into cracks in a stump or branch so they'll have to work a bit to get at them. Drill a few holes if necessary!
  • Get to know where the birds like to perch – some prefer to pause on a nearby branch or fence post to check things out before they approach. So set one up or trim back a few twigs if they are in your way.
  • give them some water too - a large plant tray will make a great bath for a flock of sparrows.

Whether you photograph them or not your garden will be a great place for birds - enjoy!

Monday, 3 April 2017

Chiffchaff Nature Reserve

      On a walk around the reserve today produced
      27 species and Green Woodpecker and Treecreeper
      heard but not seen, loads of Chiffchaff all over the
      reserve and the Little Grebes making a racket on
      the lagoon, I only seen one but it sounded like there
      were a few more on there, and 2 Goosanders were
      sunbathing up by the weir.

Friday, 31 March 2017

Toads breeding and a Brimstone Butterfly

This afternoon we had a walk round, checking a few birds' nests, and we saw a male Brimstone Butterfly flying over the Sphagnum Bog. The female apparently can be mistaken for a Large White, but this was a strong yellow, so I assume it was a male.

Ten Chiff-chaffs singing round Brookfoot and Tag Loops, and a singing Blackcap near Brookfoot Lock, my first Blackcap of the year. I know someone heard one already.

When we were on Tag Loop, near the pylon, I thought I heard toads chirping, and when we went up to the fence, we could see a colony of them breeding in the old lock. Spawn was visible among the water-plants now and again. I didn't know there was a breeding spot here. Does anyone know where Shelagh's mating pair would be heading. (Previous post.)

A pair of Long-tailed Tits were pecking lichen from the willows to cover their nest with a cloak of   invisibility (well almost.)

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

This female toad and her passenger were spotted this morning at the bund bridge on the lagoon, making their way towards the water.

Well spotted by Shelagh!



Thursday, 23 March 2017

What did we do today?

...... You got it - we planted some more trees! We must be near the 1000 mark by now?
We're looking forward to them becoming a hedgerow of blossom and berries in the not too distant future. 
We've had lots of help from regular volunteers, newcomers and local scouts - it is truly appreciated, so please spread the word about making a difference at Cromwell Bottom, Thank you. 

Wednesday, 22 March 2017


BIRD SURVEY March 18th 2017
The weather was not very kind to-day; overcast, windy and threatening rain, but not cold. Despite this many birds were singing; thrushes both mistle and song, robins dunnocks,  blue tits, great tits, and wrens. Our first summer warbler visitor, chiffchaffs were also in good voice. His song is really welcome even though after a while it can become annoying with its repetitive sound.
Alan and David surveyed both North Loop meadow and the hay meadow. They noted that though North Loop had a good variety of birds the hay meadow was very quiet. One possible reason could be the extra disturbance that occurs there.
Mike, Steve and Jane found more birds (small passerines)  away from the canal path (not surprisingly) and on the ‘bund’ heard ,but did not see,  both water rail (pig squealing sound)  and coot coming from the reed-bed area.
The feeding area was very quiet and we realised it was because there was very little food out but there were plenty of birds in the cabin feeding station.
You do not have to be an expert at identifying birds to join us on these surveys, though it is useful to have a pair of binoculars. Do come along and give us extra ‘eyes’, please.

Jane Uttley

Mute swan 1 ad 4 juv           Great tit 7
Canada goose 15                   Long tailed tit   2    
Shelduck 1 (F)                       Wren  5
Mallard   8                             Goldcrest 1 
Teal 3                                      Chiffchaff 2
Goosander   1                         Nuthatch 1
Cormorant   11                       Blackbird  6
Grey heron 4                          Song thrush  1
Buzzard 1                                Mistle thrush 3
Kestrel 1                                  Robin  7
Water rail (Heard)                Dunnock  5
Coot (Hear)                            Meadow pipit  4
Moorhen   1                            Chaffinch  8
Oystercatcher 2                     Goldfinch  6
Snipe 3                                    Linnet 15/20
Stock dove   2                         Bullfinch 12
Wood pigeon   30/40           Siskin  4
Jackdaw 18                             Lesser redpoll 2
Magpie   4                               Reed bunting   1
Carrion crow 8                      41 Species
Jay 2                                        Mammals
Blue tit   10                             Roe Deer  1
                                                  Grey Squirrel 2

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Redpoll at the cabin and a deer near the feeders.

A very welcome couple of visitors for the third bird survey yesterday.

Friday, 17 March 2017


Hi all
The Cromwell Bottom Footbridge will be open every weekend now for the foreseeable future.

Saturday, 11 March 2017

The Countryside and Woodlands e-newsletter

The Countryside and Woodlands team will be launching their e-newsletter later this month. If you would like to be on the circulation list, please e-mail


Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Cracking Cromwell

      Had a cracking day at Cromwell today and bumped into
      visitors from Leeds & Huddersfield.
      4 Teal were on the lagoon, 5 Goosander up by the weir
      and Siskin and Goldcrest about in the woods.
      28 species spotted on the morning.
      and the weather held up.


Sunday, 5 March 2017

Nice to see the Jays back

A couple popped into the feeding area today.

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Sparrowhawk This Morning

Grabbed this pic of a sparrowhawk (male?) on the reserve today just after it had missed grabbing a bluetit for brunch. And for those missing the jays, four flew over the feeding area together but didn't drop in.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Spring 2017 Newsletter

Our latest Newsletter, Spring 2017, is now available. This will be sent to all our Members automatically in the next day os so.

If any Member does not receive it by Saturday then please contact us.

If you are not a Member and would like join us to help maintain our Reserve and receive all Newsletters to date then visit us in the Cabin or fill in the form on the right. We will contact you as soon as possible.

Watching birds is good for your health

Research from Exeter University finds that watching birds near your home is good for your mental-wellbeing.  An interesting part of the findings is the link between mental-wellbeing and birds seen in the afternoon:

Nest Box Research

This report from the BBC about nest boxes and natural nesting sites may be of interest to some of you.  The take-away is that both forms of nesting have their pros and cons, though in the long-term natural cavities would appear to be the best form:

Friday, 24 February 2017

Bridge opening this weekend

The bridge will be open on Saturday and Sunday the plan was to close it on Saturday but weather conditions made a change nessesary there will be working on Sunday but the bridge will be open for this weekend . If anyone is coming to the Photo day tomorrow meet in the cabin at 10am . Yours Graham

Thursday, 23 February 2017


Saturday 25th of February     10am - 2pm

Come along to expert photography tuition for all ages, abilities and camera types. Followed by tea, coffee and home-made produce!

Apparently  The Footbridge will be OPEN all Saturday. So please meet as normal in the Cromwell Bottom Car Park at 10:00am
        No need to book - just come along to the Cabin

Bird Survey


The February bird survey on the 18th enjoyed far better weather. The sun shone, there was only a light wind and it was mild. The birds obviously enjoyed it because there were larger numbers of birds, though not species. ( 31 rather than30 )
Rather more of the reserve was covered even though there were only 5 participants. However we still did not see a jay; but Mike Henshaw and Steve Midgley did see a MALE HEN HARRIER passing through; the first time one has been seen on the reserve (we think) After several texts it was confirmed as a Calderdale sighting to enter the record book,
Rather mundane, the flocks of redwings were not seen, possible left on their journey north.
Song thrushes were starting to sing as where wrens, dunnocks and robins, who were in full song.
As many as 13 grey herons were ‘put-up’ by something and were all seen together in the sky. Several of them were seen earlier carrying nesting material. The great spotted woodpecker made an appearance at the feeding station, as did 6 reed bunting. Good views of 3 wigeon were finally had on the river
Mike and Steve also spotted a mink cowering under the metal bridge.
Roy who came with us for the first time said he had learnt a lot from his visit and had thoroughly enjoyed it.

List of species displayed in the cabin

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Recent Photos

                Starlings at Brighouse (Worth going down at the end of the day when you leave the reserve)

                                                             Reed Buntings  (female and male)
                              Long Tailed Tits. My favourite small bird. So photogenic

                                                         A serious looking Blue Tit

                                               Long Tailed Tit enjoying a snack
                                                      Blue Tits looking for food


                                                             Bullfinchs (m)