Wild West Yorkshire nature diary
house sparrowbroom flower

First Cuckoo

Sunday 23rd April 2000
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'It is very well to hear the cuckoo for the first time on Easter Sunday morning', remarked the Victorian clergyman, Francis Kilvert, in his diary. We get to hear our first this afternoon. It's not just Easter Day, and Shakespeare's and Turner's birthday today, it's my birthday too. It's nice enough for our family and friends to spill out onto the lawn.

Anemone coronaria Claudia, a botany student, points out a red anemone in the border. It's Anemone coronaria, native to Israel, where it grows on hillsides and in deserts. It may originally have been woodland species, but there is little woodland left there. She was recently weeding it out from the North American display at the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens.

I'm pleased with the coincidence that on Easter Day I should meet someone who has worked in a garden in Jerusalem. Claudia's course has been based at the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, London. Recently she has been growing endangered orchids from tissue culture. The species she has been working on is Yorkshire's rarest orchid the Lady's Slipper. A single specimen grows in a secret location in the Yorkshire Dales. Even the British Plant Atlas doesn't give away the location.

toad hopping A Toad is swimming alongside the steep bank of the canal, apparently trying to find a way out. I bend over, wondering whether I should try to lift it out, but it dives down into the murk.

broom flower A small Broom plant by the canal is in blossom. A black slug is twined elegantly around the stem, surrounded by yellow blossom, eating one of the flowers.

Richard Bell
Richard Bell,
wildlife illustrator

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

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