Hetchell Woods Round Up

Pauline and the botanists have been on a visit to Hetchell Woods near Leeds and sent in the following list of sightings.

Lesser Celandine
Wild Garlic
Wood Speedwell (bright green leaves)
Common Dog Violet (niche at the end of the spur)
Wood Avens
Wild Arum
Jack by the Hedge/Garlic Mustard
Ribwort Plantain
Good Friday grass (sedge)
Common Twayblade
Burnet Rose
Wild Strawberry
Barren Strawberry (gaps between petals)
Early Purple Orchid
False Oxslip
Greater Stitchwort
Wood Sorrel
Wood Anenome
Golden Saxifrage
Meadow Buttercup
Marsh Marigold
Lady’s Smock (abundant)
Cow Parsley
Wavy Cress
Green Alkanet

Wren, Chiff Chaff, Song Thrush, Green Woodpecker, Goldfinch, Blackcap

Danish invaders and kingcups!

The Danish Invasion

300 yrs on from the Vikings, the Danes are still coming after us! The salty spray produced by cars during the winter months makes the central reservations of motorways a hostile place for many plants but Danish scurvy grass, which usually grows on sea-cliffs, likes this environment. It is in flower now and produces the thousands of tiny white flowers that pepper the ground in the middle of motorways and along the verges. Danish scurvy grass is continuing its advance inland and is now spreading along the A-roads. The plants in this picture are growing alongside the A638, just outside Ackworth.

Danish scurvy grass

Danish scurvy grass along the roadside verges


The wet weather over the past twelve months might have been bad for some species but it has been beneficial for this large patch of marsh marigolds in Hemsworth. Growing in some particularly damp ground beneath a stand of crack willow, the recent sunny days have brought them into flower producing a carpet of large yellow flowers.

Marsh Marigold (Caltha palustris)

Marsh Marigold (Caltha palustris)

Marsh Marigold (Caltha palustris)

Marsh Marigold (Caltha palustris)

Next Meeting – April 10th Member’s Night

Don’t forget that our next meeting is member’s night – its always an interesting evening as we get to see what our members get up to.

So far we have Colin Booker, Francis Hickenbottom and Roger Gaynor bringing a selection of their slides; if you have something that you would like to share please feel free to bring it along – if you have slides please send us an email so we can schedule them into the programme.

We look forward to seeing you on Tuesday.

Sightings March 13th Meeting

Calder Wetlands provided us with some good early spring records.

  • Sand Martin (3rd March – Earliest ever record)
  • Chiffchaff
  • Longtailed Tits (Seen nest building)
  • Grass Snake

Also, seen at Ackworth School

  • Longtailed Tits
  • Pied Wagtails
  • Pipistrelle Bat
  • Buzzard

Horbury Golfcourse had sightings of a Ring Necked Parakeet and there have also been early butterfly sightings with Red Admiral on the 1st of March.

Also reported at the meeting was a sighting of a Great Horned Owl near Nostell! Unfortunately it was an escapee.

We are always happy to recieve your records and sightings and look forward to hearing them at the next meeting.


Rosse Observatory visit

On Thursday 17th November about 24 of our members went along on an organised visit to the Rosse Observatory, near Carlton, Pontefract for an evening of star gazing. We weren’t disappointed! After days of gloomy, murky November weather (albeit mild) our expectations for seeing any stars were pretty low. However we were more than delighted when the gloom broke to produce a glorious sunny autumn day which continued through into the evening giving excellent clear skies. The clear skies meant the Observatories star attraction, the telescope, could be put into action and we were all treated to spectacular views of Jupiter together with it’s 4 moons clearly visible though the scope.

We split into two groups and while one group climbed the ladders to the observation deck, the other group were treated to an illustrated talk all about the solar system with some mind blowing facts and figures – it’s not only Prof. Peter Cox who knows his stuff!
We swapped over and repeated the process and once everyone had seen Jupiter, the computerised telescope was turned towards the galaxy Andromeda, a spiral galaxy some 2.5 million light years away from earth: Awesome!!

The Rosse Observatory is well worth a visit. Here is a photo, thanks to member Roger Gaynor, taken on the evening to give some idea of the size of the telescope.