Wild West Yorkshire nature diary
mallard kingfisher


Friday 26th May 2000
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River Calderperchingkingfisher
WE HAVEN'T SEEN Kingfishers on the canal for months but today there's a pair sitting on a branch sticking up from the silt island by the bridge over the Calder. One follows the other across the river - two bolts of blue - and they perch in the overhanging trees opposite. For a moment a think I've spotted a third bird in a willow by the island, but, as luck would have it, I haven't brought my binoculars to check it out.

chickweed; a tyre as a wild flower garden Recent rains have washed branches, litter and four old tyres up on the island. West Yorkshire is now awash with tyres.As you leave the county via Holme Moss, an upended millstone acts as a sign that you're entering the Peak National Park. Perhaps they'll now erect an old tyre to welcome you back to West Yorkshire. Landfill sites are now filling up and recycling, throughout the country, not just in Yorkshire, we lag a long way behind the sort of standards that some of our neighbours, notably Germany, aspire to.

mallard drake A Mallard drake sits sunbathing on the beach with his feathers fluffed out on his back. This may be a way of getting rid of feather parasites, or, who knows, a way of building up its supply of Vitamin D.

Why do always look for a scientific reason for any animal behaviour? Perhaps he's just taking a well-earned break, sunbathing on the beach, after the stress of the breeding season. Like a holiday in Ibiza.

pied wagtailgrey wagtail There's a pecking order amongst the wagtails. A Pied Wagtail chases a Grey from the silty island. After a few minutes at the other side of the river the grey returns, only to be chased off again.

'Do all the bullies kick sand in your face?' was how the Charles Atlas advertisements used to describe life at the lower end of the pecking order.

I lean on the parapet for a few minutes watching as the traffic the bridge ebbs and flows at the lights. That's the advantage of walking; a lot of people must cross this bridge every day and they'll never see a kingfisher, a wagtail or even a duck.

Richard Bell
Richard Bell,
wildlife illustrator

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

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