Wild West Yorkshire nature diary, Monday 17th May 1999

Wintersett Reservoir
pike IN THE SHALLOWS, three large Pike (14") rest motionless. Wintersett Reservoir between Wakefield and Barnsley) was created to supply water to the Barnsley Canal, which is no longer in use and is partly filled in.

coot conflict Coots fight it out near the outlet. At one stage it is two against one, but the outnumbered adversary escapes drowning and hurries away. The victors puff themselves up, wings raised.

pignut A colony of Pignut grows on a dry grassy bank of the reservoir. A lot of local people remember eating the peanut size tuber as a wild food.

coal seam in bank The prevailing wind has created a little wave cut cliff (about as high a man) at the top end of the lake. A coal seam is exposed, blocky and jet black, both at its foot and on the wave cut platform that forms lake bed immediately below.

horsetail Horsetails are springing up along the path edges - a reminder of the forest giants that dominated this part of the world when the coal was laid down, 300 million years ago.

sheep's sorrel Sheep's Sorrel is a plant you might easily overlook, but it's worth giving it closer scrutiny; it has tiny red flowers at the moment and the leaves are shaped like ornate spear heads. It is an indicator of acid soil.

charolais and Belgian Blue bull Charolais cows have been crossed with a Belgian Blue bull in a pasture near the reservoir.

Richard Bell,
wildlife illustrator

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