Wild West Yorkshire nature diary
cockerel hen

'Black Panther'

Saturday 25th March 2000
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cirrus A HIGH CIRRUS cloud hangs like lace in the morning sky, while cumulus moves below it.

cockerel Next door's hens scratch around our vegetable and flower beds. The cockerel looks splendid with his red crown and wattle and an iridescent sheen on his feathers, but, our next door neighbour tells us, it is the little red hen that is the leader of the group. Where she goes the others follow. On occasion she has made it through the open door and into their kitchen, where the hens pick up crumbs from the floor, before they are chased out.

As a result of all this free-range scratching and pecking the eggs are more flavoursome than the factory-produced variety.


The Beast of Ossett

Another neighbour reports a sighting of the mysterious 'black panther' that has been reported for some years on the outskirts of Ossett. She saw it while out walking the dog by the canal. She pointed it out to her husband but as soon as the large cat, or whatever it was, saw them, it was away.

cockerel Could such an animal survive in such a populous area? What would if feed on? There have been reports of pet rabbits disappearing from gardens, but it would be difficult to say whether a fox, or some other creature was responsible.

Locals who go out after dark with spotlights to shoot rabbits have seen not a trace of it but that doesn't mean that the creature isn't there. On a parkland estate in rural Yorkshire a poacher's lurcher (a fast greyhound-like hunting dog) was at large for six monthshen but was sighted only once during that period. The gamekeepers knew it was there because they found the roe deer that it had killed, but it took a concerted effort with volunteers to flush it out of the wood.

Richard Bell
Richard Bell,
wildlife illustrator

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

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