Wild West Yorkshire nature diary
blackbirdhouse sparrow

Déjeuner sur l'herbe

('lunch on the lawn')
Friday 7th April 2000

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IT'S SUNNY ENOUGH to do my writing in the garden. I take my lunch break by the pond. This is my favourite sort of works canteen, eating out in the open, surrounded by my models. But, I have to say, I prefer my fried rice with an egg broken over it to anything else on offer;

  • 'White-tail' the Blackbird collects a beakful of small worms from the lawn. Is he feeding the female on the nest, or have they got young already?

  • Ten or more Frogs sit around with just their heads showing above water, perhaps on the look-out for insects

    male common newt
  • Newts are busy below the surface, they seem to be more intent on courtship than feeding on tadpoles, as they were the other day

  • like all good canteens there's a vegetarian option; the pond snails rasp away at algae and plants

  • I throw a few grains of rice to the little red hen that is scratching by the little Kilmarnock willow

A medium-sized black water beetle is out of the water, basking in the sun on a pebble. It leaps into the pond, has some difficulty pushing itself through the surface film, then swims off amongst the pondweed.

I thought I saw . . .

goosanders A single Goosander is standing on a rock amongst the rapids on the river. At the top of the rapids there's a dark bobbing object which looks like another bird hunting for fish. It bobs and weaves skillfully through the rapids, passing the other bird. As it gets nearer we see that it has brown 'plumage' and a flash of orange on the 'bill'.

No that's not a goosander, it's a . . . hmmm . . . it's a discarded beer can.

Richard Bell
Richard Bell,
wildlife illustrator

E-mail; 'richard@daelnet.co.uk'

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