Tuesday, 14th November 2000, West Yorkshire
carrion crowsA DULL MISTY afternoon; several hours after the rain, the pavements are still uniformly damp. A Crow nonchalantly scratches behind its ear as it sits on a street-lamp.

tarspot fungus on Sycamore Most trees are now bare of leaves, but the gold of Sycamore and the russet of Cherry glow in the dullness, like the stirred-up ashes of a dying fire.

There's no sense of light and shade in the autumnal landscape. Hedges, stubble and still water merge imperceptibly into the misty distance. There are no strong forms, just bands of wrap-around texture in soft colours . . . like a scarf knitted from naturally dyed yarns.

My sketch shows Tarspot Fungus on sycamore. On most trees almost every leaf is spotted.

Roe Deer

Roe Deer In an isolated hollow, just a few miles from Wakefield we disturb three Roe Deer, which run off up the slope. They're in their darker, duller brown winter coats, but still with the conspicuous white rump.

Roe deer have been recorded in the area since 1975, following their dramatic spread from their strongholds in North Yorkshire but this is the first time I've seen them locally. Typically a few of them might move into a local wood, only to be shot soon after by lampers.

This might be bad news for the roe deer, but good news for any recently planted trees. But I must admit I'd like see roe deer become more of a part of the local scene. Perhaps we'd learn to accept deer-browsed clearings in forest as a contribution to local bio-diversity; instead of wanton vandalism. Although if I had planted the trees I might think differently.

watercolours My sketch is from two years ago, when I'd just started this nature diary. It was a deer that ran across the A1 in front of us as we headed north through the Scottish Borders. In my artwork at that time I tried to be true to the medium of computers by colouring my line drawing in Adobe Photoshop, using the mouse as a brush.

I soon gave up on that and returned to watercolours. next page

Richard Bell
Richard Bell,
wildlife illustrator

E-mail; ''