Wild West Yorkshire nature diary, Friday 5th February 1999
At dusk the flooded Strands reflects the glow of the sky in the darkening valley. Patches like this bring a touch of wilderness and wet to this populous corner of West Yorkshire.
It's refreshing to be without the car for once and I have a choice of bike or bus to get into town. On a cool but thankfully not so windy day like this there's no contest. A good cycle track along the valley means I can get away from the traffic. Motorway drivers heading north and south seem trapped in a limbo of their own. To travel can be more than getting there.
On a permanent pond near Millfield lagoons there are only Coot, gulls and Mallard today, though last time I saw a Kingfisher here. Perhaps civil engineering works in the field have put other birds off.
Streaky Dunnocks, bright, neat Greenfinches and rather washed-out looking Blue Tits were in the hedges by a housing development which covers what was, a couple of years ago, rankly grassy waste ground. While I don't like to see the steady advance of brick and tarmac, it occurs to me that for, the birds themselves, the extensive planting of shrubs in the estate's many small gardens and the provision of a host of bird tables and feeders migh actually have improved the habitat. At least for these particular birds at this particular time of year.
Richard Bell, wildlife illustrator
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