• Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Categories
    Categories Displays a list of categories from this blog.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
  • Bloggers
    Bloggers Search for your favorite blogger from this site.
  • Team Blogs
    Team Blogs Find your favorite team blogs here.
  • Login
    Login Login form

Posted by on in Wildlife

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today while trying to get some fencing upgraded, I was walking in front of the Lecture Hall when a rabbit tore past me, closely followed by a small brown blur. Both disappeared down the track to the houses at the bottom, then up into the field at the back, then back around again several times.

Five or six of these circuits must have been completed before I saw the small brown blur heading back towards me, still at full speed, the rabbit now nowhere to be seen. At the last minute I was spotted, and evasive action was taken, making use of an adjacent clump of reeds. But by now I had realised it was one of the ‘squeaky sausages’ that we had spotted last year.

I managed to grab a couple of photos of the little critter while it was investigating me, but it was soon gone again, back into the reeds and rocks.

Tagged in: Mammal Weasel Wildlife
Last modified on
Hits: 2245
0

Posted by on in The Sky

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just when we thought things couldn’t get any better this week, Nettie managed to spot, what at first sight looked like a fairly regular solar halo. Although such things are surprisingly common (if you spend any amount of time sky watching), it soon turned out to be what is possibly a once in a lifetime experience.

What we ended up observing was a combination of optical phenomena, which for our location have a probability of being seen individually, ranging from about once a year to one hundred times a year.

Put them all together however and well, probability was never my strongpoint, but I think maybe tonight is a good night to get that lottery ticket.

Last modified on
Hits: 2384
0

Posted by on in Astronomy


As a follow up to the photographs we published in the previous post, here is a timelapse video showing how the aurora developed and then faded away.

Altogether it was visible to us for approximately 1.5 hours.

Last modified on
Hits: 1903
0
Photo shared by on in Astronomy

As usual, following periods of increased solar activity, we are always on the lookout for potential sightings of aurora. We use two websites to help us with this:-

AuroraWatch UK

&

NOAA Space Weather Prediction Centre

The predictions for a visible aurora were quite good for this evening and the weather was  favourable, so we thought we'd take a wander up to Woodlands View to see what we could see. We've done this many times before with no success, but tonight was to be the night.

We thought we could see a faint green glow to the North, behind the wind turbines and electricity pylons, very low down on the horizon. After setting up our cameras, some initial test shots looked promising.

Between 8.30 and 10.00 p.m. we stood and watched as the the display slowly built in intensity; seeing the gradual appearance of blue and red into the range of colours and also spotting what at first looked like faint searchlight beams either side of the main glow.

We were lucky enough to be joined by Garry Mayes from Planet Earth Education and his son, who had also thought it might be worth making the trip up onto the moor and it also happens to be the 20th anniversary of Nettie's first visit up here for work experience.

We managed to obtain a good selection of photographs but Nettie managed to top the lot by capturing an 'Flaring' satellite against the background of the aurora.

Hopefully this is the first of many sightings that we will have at Woodlands View.

Last modified on
Hits: 1731
0

Posted by on in Environment

The results page has been updated to include results up to the end of August 2015 and a link which will open in a new window can be found here:-

http://www.woodlandsvieweducation.co.uk/index.php/environmental-issues/invertebrate-monitoring/invertebrate-survey-results

We think that we are starting to see patterns in variations of invertebrate populations and should be getting more detailed information from the Environment Agency as to the life cycles of the different species that can be found. We are also hoping for information which will enable us to expand the range of factors which we monitor and feed our results back to the Environment Agency to help them improve their records.

Last Saturday we had our annual invertebrate monitoring refresher day, organised by Judith and Melvyn from the Calder and Colne Rivers Trust Invertebrate Monitoring Subgroup. As usual it was good to catch up with fellow monitors and find out more about what is going on in our area.

Talks were given by the Environment Agency, Pennine Prospects, The Coal Authority and we were given an overview of a new project concerning Hebden Water which is currently in the planning stages.

Last modified on
Hits: 1513
0

Posted by on in Astronomy

b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_1406_resized.jpgb2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_1374_resized.jpg

Just a quick post to show two images from the total lunar eclipse in the early hours of Monday morning, as photographed from Woodlands View.

The first shows the 'blood red' moon and was taken at approximately 03.27 when the moon was completely in Earth's shadow (the Umbra - the darker central part). The second photo was take a little earlier on and shows stars that were not visible due to the glare from the full moon before the eclipse began.

Regarding the first photo, we were interested to know why there still appears to be a small lighter coloured 'crescent' to the bottom left. At this point of the eclipse, the moon was meant to be completely in Earth's shadow, so according to all the diagrams showing the stages of the eclipse should be all the same colour. The same crescent is visible in all photos that I have seen that were taken during the 'maximum' stage of the eclipse.

The closest explanation that we can find is that the moon was in fact right on the boundary between the inner (umbra) and outer (penumbra) shadows of the Earth. Close enough so that refraction of sunlight through different parts of the Earth's atmosphere caused the slight change in colour.

Whatever the reason, we had a thouroughly enjoyable evening watching the eclipse, despite the advancing mist and are looking forward to the next one in 2019 on the 20/21st January.

For more Moon information, don't forget to check out our Moon page which can be found here:-

http://www.woodlandsvieweducation.co.uk/index.php/the-moon

Last modified on
Hits: 1652
0
Photo shared by on in Astronomy

We have been lucky to have had two relatively clear nights for this year’s Perseid meteor shower. The absence of the moon has also made a good deal of difference to the 'seeing' conditions.

The night of August 11 provided us with several very bright meteor trails; however, they mostly appeared from the Southern part of the sky, away from Perseus. It is most likely that these were ‘sporadic’ meteors, meaning that they are not associated with any particular meteor shower and do not have a well-defined ‘radiant’ – point of origin in the sky. The sky was relatively clear but recent rain made for a lot of moisture in the air and camera lenses rapidly fogged over.

The night of the 12th appeared to be less clear, with some very high wispy cloud, but there was a definite increase in the hourly meteor rate as we moved into Thursday morning. Higher daytime temperatures meant that camera lenses stayed fog free at night, and we were much more successful with our photography.

We have include a small gallery of images with this post, in which there are two images that show what at first may appear to be meteors but are actually satellites that appear to ‘flare’ when they catch the sun’s rays at the right angle.

Some satellite flares can be predicted, such as the ‘Iridium’ flares that are caused by the shape of the body panels of a particular type of communications satellite, and can be very bright. Other, dimmer flares can be caused the solar panels of the same type of satellite and generally last longer than the brighter ones. The predictions can only be made because the satellites are controlled and their orientation in space is known.

It is also possible to see flares from satellites that cannot be predicted because they are out of control (tumblers), or from debris left after rocket launches.

Last modified on
Hits: 1802
0
Photo shared by on in Wildlife

I was passing by Woodlands View on my way back from visiting a relative today. I had no intention of doing any work as I’d spent a good 6 hours driving, but was curious as to why just outside the entrance, two cars were doing a very slow, and strange dance across the middle of the road. I thought that maybe the driver of the first car decided to pull in to the entrance and then thought better of it.

The second car then ‘undertook’ the first, at which point I spotted what they had actually being trying to avoid. There were five or six small, very agitated, brown and white ‘sausages’ in the middle of the road, surrounding another one which unfortunately looked as though it had been run over; and indeed, as I passed, I could see that it had been well and truly squashed.

I pulled into the drive and went to grab my camera, but by the time I got back to the scene, the road was clear; even the casualty had disappeared. There was nothing to be seen, but lots of high pitched squeaking could be heard, so I stayed as still as I could and kept my eyes open.

A minute or two passed and then, the small, squeaky sausages re-appeared on both sides of the road, calling to each other frantically. I managed to get a couple of photos, but they soon spotted me and ducked back into cover.

Thinking that I might be able to do a fair impersonation of the noises I had heard; my reward was a Weasel (Mustela nivalis) kit, popping its head out from under a rock to check me out.

We have seen what we thought were weasels, a few time on sites, but were never able to make a definite identification. This time, thanks to a few photos, I could see the slight change in colour on the end of the tail (not a definite black tip), and the wavy border between the brown of the back and the white of the underbelly, which meant these were weasels and not stoats.

There is a well-known saying, that ‘weasels are weasily wecognisable, whereas stoats are stotally different.’ However, up at Woodlands View, we seem to have an especially speedy variety, which until now has made proper identification impossible.

I have no idea of whether it was one of the kits, or their mother that had been killed. At best, I can guess that the young can’t be more than three to four months old as after this time, they have usually gone their separate ways.

It was time to let them go about their business. Walking back to the car, I noticed a line of baby bunnies sat on the wall along the side of the track. I wonder what they had made of the whole spectacle and whether they had any idea that they might well be the next meal for the young family trying to cross the road.

 

Last modified on
Hits: 2103
0
Video shared by on in Wildlife

Finally we have been lucky and managed to catch one of the local foxes on video. We have knew they were about, having caught brief glimpses of them. We even thought we could tell what regular path they would take across Woodlands View, but have not managed to get more than a very poor photograph, until now.

Last modified on
Hits: 1657
Photo shared by on in Environment

Attempting to get a bit of work done in the good weather this morning, I was alerted to this potential bargain.

2.5MW Wind Turbine for sale (Link to pdf file)

We've been on the lookout for something similar to this as we would like to go as off-grid as much as possible. We'd better act quick though as apparently it has made the local news.

http://www.todmordennews.co.uk/news/local/crews-called-to-wind-turbine-fire-on-todmorden-moor-1-7290886

So, apparently, this may have been caused by it being too windy. Interestingly, this particular model of turbine (Nordex N90/2500), is marketed as being most suitable for regions with strong winds.

The funny thing is that the winds last night were nowhere near as bad as they can be up on the moor. So it's probably just an unfortunate case of mechanical failure.

We were under the impression that these turbines are braked using the generator, but it looks like we were wrong. Apparently they turn the blades at a full 90 degrees pitch to the wind and there is also a hydraulic disc brake for emergencies.

Whatever the cause, it doesn't look good seeing as the wind farm is only just about 1 Year old.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Disclaimer: Obviously, the PDF file linked to above is for a fictional E-bay listing. Someone suggested to me this morning that the remains of the turbine could go up on everyone's favourite auction site. In the interest of safety. there is a 300m cordon around the damaged turbine, as it should be considered unsafe.

Interestingly, reading an updated article in the Todmorden News, the owner of the site is now given as 'Renewable Energy Systems'. This is yet another name given as the operators of the windfarm. It would be nice to know who actually owns and operates it as the information publicly available seems to be very contradictory. The operators were previously given as Todmorden Moor Windfarm Ltd, at least that is who is registered at Companies House.

 

 

Last modified on
Hits: 2010
0
Photo shared by on in Uncategorized

Finally, after another 300m of stock netting we have completed the last of the fencing. This means that we can stop worrying about the trees on North Woodlands and can get some wildflowers planted.

It was hard going as nearly every post-hole contained large pieces of rock or concrete which needed breaking up to get the posts to the right depth. All told, it has taken about two months, weather permitting. Often we only managed to get a couple of posts in per day due to stubborn rocks.

The photos below aren't of the completed work as we've had camera issues which still need to be sorted.

This goes some way to explaining why we haven't had many blog posts for a while, but it's one of the major jobs to be ticked off the list.

 

 

 

Last modified on
Hits: 1593
0

Posted by on in Environment

We have completed our first year of invertebrate monitoring on Midgelden Brook and have now started on the second.

The results page has been updated and a link which will open in a new window can be found here:-

http://www.woodlandsvieweducation.co.uk/index.php/environmental-issues/invertebrate-monitoring/invertebrate-survey-results

We are now getting to a position where we can determine if any clear patterns in the invertebrate populations can be found.

Monitoring has also started on Carr and Craggs Moor, right at the top of the hill. Here can be found another badly polluted stretch of water, again from historical mining activities, and another potential location for the Coal Authority to construct a treatment plant.

We will probably create another page for Carr and Craggs Moor as there is a lot of information to digest.

Last modified on
Hits: 1553
0

Posted by on in Environment

It may seem like we haven't done much in a while as there have not been any updates. We have in fact been extremely busy and it is difficult to think of when we last had a day off.

One of Wal's projects was a new animation that helps illustrate the main processes involved in the pollution of watercourses by 'Ochre Water' from abandoned mineworkings. Click on the link below to take you direct to the page.

http://www.woodlandsvieweducation.co.uk/index.php/environmental-issues/minewater-treatment

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_Minewater_Video_Screenshot.jpg

 More updates on minewater and invertebrate monitoring are to follow.

Last modified on
Hits: 1639
0
Photo shared by on in Wildlife

b2ap3_thumbnail_Frogspawn_2015.jpg

We finally have frogspawn. There was lots of telltale croaking on Friday which we were expecting as it was quite a nice day. Didn't spot anything on Saturday as the weather was not too good and we had other engagements to attend to.

Had a quick look just after lunchtime today and there is a good amount of spawn, possibly equal to the amount we had last year. Well done frogs!

 

Last modified on
Hits: 2153
0

Posted by on in Uncategorized

Recently, while Nettie attended a course in Manchester, on how to be an outstanding Physics Teacher (totally unnecessary, obviously), I had a few hours to kill. So I thought I’d take a look around MOSI (the Museum of Science & Industry), part of the Science Museum Group.

I can honestly recommend the experience as there was so much to see and before I knew it, 6 hours had flown by. I plan to go back in the future so that I can spend a bit more time in the ‘Collections’ and archives.

A link to the MOSI website is here.

Below is a small gallery of some photographs I took while there. Have a guess at what they might be of, and click on each image to reveal the bigger picture.

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_6178_Small.jpgb2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_6118_Small.jpgb2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_6115_Small.jpgb2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_6067_Small.jpgb2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_6033_Small.jpgb2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_5919_Small.jpgb2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_5880_Small.jpg

Last modified on
Hits: 1667
0

Posted by on in Astronomy

Below is a short video taken of the Partial Eclipse of March 2015, shot from Woodlands View. The video is composed from stills taken with a digital SLR, through a 200mm lens and solar observing film.

 

We have also updated the 'Eclipse' section of the sun page with a still image taken at around the maximum coverage. Link here.

 

Last modified on
Hits: 1582
0
Photo shared by on in Wildlife

b2ap3_thumbnail_Happy_Newt_Year.jpg

Spotted yesterday, enjoying the Sun. The first newt of 2015.

It got us thinking. this time last year, we had frogspawn. We are keeping our ears open for the tell-tale croaking.

Tagged in: Newts Pond Wildlife
Last modified on
Hits: 1830
0

Posted by on in Environment

The most recent round of surveying for Midgelden Brook was completed this morning and  it can be seen that all 3 sites are in decline. Recent spells of cold weather and heavy rainfall may have had an effect here but we are also keeping a close eye on the adjacent windfarm access track works. You can view the updated results in chart form here:-

Invertebrate Survey Results

Site 1:-

Water Temperature 9.40C

pH 7 (Neutral)

 

Site 2:-

 

Water Temperature 9.00C

 

pH 7 (Neutral)

 

Site 3:-

 

Water Temperature 9.30C

 

pH 7 (Neutral)

 

Last modified on

Last modified on
Hits: 1438
0

Posted by on in Environment

The most recent round of surveying for Midgelden Brook was completed yesterday and yet again there are signs of life at Site 1 (opposite Woodlands View).  You can view the updated results in chart form here:-

Invertebrate Survey Results

We are also now recording water temperature and pH level as part of our effort to get a greater understanding in what is happening in Midgelden Brook.

 

Site 1:-

Water Temperature 7.50C

pH 7 (Neutral)

 

Site 2:-

 

Water Temperature 6.00C

 

pH 7 (Neutral)

 

Site 3:-

 

Water Temperature 6.50C

 

pH 7 (Neutral)

 

Last modified on
Hits: 1350
0

Posted by on in Astronomy

If you feel you can brave the cold, a sight currently well worth looking out for, is that of Comet C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy). If you have access to a reasonably dark site and have clear skies, you may be able to make out this comet with the naked eye. However if you are in possession of a pair of binoculars, you will get a much better view.

The comet was discovered on 17th August 2014 by Terry Lovejoy (not a fictional antiques dealer from East Anglia). It has recently passed from the constellation Taurus into that of Aries and will possibly remain quite bright for some time. It has been in the news for a while, although the weather has generally not been favourable for viewing.

We’ve included two screen grabs from the free planetarium software, Stellarium, which show the position of the comet as it was on the 15th of this month and as it will be today. The photograph was taken on the 15th at the time shown in the first screen grab. You can just make out a hint of the tail, but the quality of the photograph could have been better if I wasn’t battling with 40 – 50 mph gusts of wind.

The green glow is from the comet’s coma – a fuzzy haze of gas and dust released from the comets nucleus as it is heated by the sun. The green colour is most likely to be from carbon compounds but you may struggle to make out any colour as our eyes are generally not sensitive enough.

 

 

 

Last modified on
Hits: 1776
0