Wild West Yorkshire nature diary, Friday 30th July 1999

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old man willow AN OLD Crack Willow has great presence, highlighted by the evening sun. I've painted it in watercolours on a couple of occasions. It has so much character that I feel I'm painting a portrait rather than a landscape. When I had a commission to paint Charles Waterton in the Guyana rainforest, with a fee that didn't stretch to a trip out there, I used this tree to hold the composition together. I had toucans, parrots and a Quetzal perching on it.

This evening its only companions are two rabbits on the adjacent mown grass by the stream.

aphids on tansy Ants 'farm' aphids. Some flowerheads of Tansy are encrusted with black aphids and these are usually accompanied by brown ants, some of them walking amongst the aphids and a couple apparently standing guard below them on the stem.

wall brownsmall tortoiseshell Buddleias seem to have come, and all but gone, without attracting lots of butterflies. A Wall Brown holds its territory next to a Buddleia by a stable, a Small Tortoiseshell sunbathes on the wall while a darker butterfly, possibly a Red Admiral or a Peacock, flies past.

coot and young On one of the last remaining pools by the canal a Coot sitting on its nest appears to have eggs. But with binoculars we see that they're actually chicks.

combine harvester The wheat harvest continues after dark. The combine rumbles on as I type this at ten. Its light flashes behind the trees in the valley.

Richard Bell,
wildlife illustrator

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

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