The wind that shakes the barley

Wild West Yorkshire nature diary, Tuesday 18th May 1999

GREEN WAVES shimmer across the hillside fields. I think of my friend David who walked this lane with me ten days ago and who is now in Newfoundland to help crew a 30 foot yacht across the Atlantic.

The wind has shaken the canal-side May blossom. The confetti of round petals has picked out tyre tracks and horse-shoe prints in the black mud of a shady lane. The Figure of Three lock looks like a flower festival with a raft of petals on the water and a marbling of them stuck to stonework.

orange tip green-veined white peacock Battered, faded Peacocks sunbathe on the towpath, a couple Orange Tips flutter around a patch of Jack-by-the-Hedge (a foodplant of the caterpillars) and a Green-veined White feeds on a flowerhead. A number of fresh-looking Wall Browns patrol the verge below the hedges.

ground beetle A Ground Beetle trots across the lane and disappears amongst the grasses.

toad While digging out the compost bin I disturb a toad. When I attempt to pick it up it makes a little squeal of protest, a short whistling sound.

Richard Bell,
wildlife illustrator

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