Thursday, 6th May 2004
Coxley Wood from the studio window, 8.30 pm, looking east as the sun sets behind me. Clouds melt away as the colour changes on a sliding scale.
I've just had an e-mail from my illustrator friend John Welding and he tells me that he and Helen were cycling by the canal at the time that the storks were making their nesting attempt in a blaze of local and national publicity:
As I paint I'm on stork alert too . . . what's that?!
Oh, it's just a heron coming down into the meadow . . .
. . . And that?!
Hmm, the heron taking off again.
At last! - in the corner of my eye - a glimpse of broad wings gliding majestically over the wood:
a low-flying jet on it's way to Yeadon.
For what it's worth, this was the last view that we had of the storks, or what at the time we were convinced were the storks, on Monday, 3rd May, flying over our house to the north west - so not in the direction of the attempted nest site butabout half a mile west of it. Although we were both pretty sure they were storks when we saw them but there wasn't time to grab our binoculars. They looked like two animated black and white football scarves.
Could they have been two herons? Well, we usually see single herons here, we're four or five miles from the heronry at Bretton on what seems to be a commuting route for them. These were flying along together, they seemed to be interacting with each other, tipping up their wings. Herons are more usually on their own. These didn't have that plodding purposeful flight that herons often have. Wish I'd had the binoculars handy.
We had a much better sighting of a stork in the same general area, above
the farm at the end of Hostingley Lane, turning to head towards the Coxley
Valley area (where the pair have been seen several times) on Saturday
Richard Bell, firstname.lastname@example.org