hips of dog rose


Saturday 26th August 2000, West Yorkshire

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starlings on Horbury church spire
STARLINGS GATHER on the top of the town hall clocktower in Ossett, arranging themselves along the narrow ledges like decorations on a wedding cake.

field bindweed On a roadside verge, Lesser Bindweed has grown up around a seeding Hogweed, to give a cone of flowery foliage, like a florist's version of topiary.

Elderberries have started to ripen and, by the Balk, some of the hips of Dog Rose have already turned orange-red. Another month and it really will be autumn. It's a dull day and a lot of birds are gathering on wires; Swallows, Starlings and, the biggest group of all, numbering several hundreds, of a small bird with a buoyant flight; probably Linnets. It's as if they're gathering to mark the end of the season. Soon the winter thrushes will be back with us again.

scentless mayweed At the worn edges of the paddocks, where the horses tend to like to gather near the fence, Scentless Mayweed now forms a frothy margin of daisy-like flowers.

angelica By the canal, growing right at the edge of the water, Angelica now has umbels of winged oval seeds amongst its flowerheads. It's large leaves clasp the purplish stems.

It hardly stops raining all day. I notice two brown-lipped snails, both with sandy-coloured shells by the canal. One moves over a bench, the other investigates a discarded bottle. Brown-brown-lipped snaillipped snails come in a variety of colour forms. My sketch shows the normal version, striped like a humbug, but these probably have an advantage of being difficult to spot against the sandstone wall and the light soil on the worn grassy banking by the pub car park. But being so light they would have the disadvantage that it would take them longer to raise their temperature, by taking up what sun was available, in cool conditions.

A few brown slugs glide over the wet grass of our lawn.

As I type this late in the evening a insect which I identify as a Brown Lacewing comes and circles the keyboard, attracted by my desklamp, and keeps landing on my diary, hopping about skittishly on the page.

Richard Bell
Richard Bell,
wildlife illustrator

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