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great tit

A Break in the Flow

Wednesday, 24th January 2001, West Yorkshire

meander A RARE sunny day and a short break in the flow of work are all the excuses I need to take a short walk in the woods this afternoon. One of the reasons we moved here 18 years ago was to be near the wood, but we rarely walk the full length of it.

birtrunk.gif - 4275 Bytes The Silver Birches along the top of the slope look good, even with bare branches, against the weak winter sun. The colours of bark and dry bracken are muted, like the naturally dyed colours of traditional Harris Tweed.

It's good to be in a natural space again, not hemmed in by traffic and buildings but hemmed in by ranks of trees. In fact rather than making me feel enclosed the verticals of the trees give a sense of spaciousness, defining the space around me as I stride along the path.

honey fungus There are just a few accents of colour; Honey Fungus on a log and the buds on a Hazel by the stream are grey, yes, but with a hint of lilac.

the beck Really there's not much going on in the wood today, but that's the attraction of it. It's good to hear the scrunch of dried oak and sycamore leaves beneath my feet again and the babbling of the brook (I know that's a cliché, but that's just what it is doing today). There's one bend on the stream where a log has fallen across the flow and now forms a small dam. Clear water rushing over it produces the sort of rhythmic sound that gardeners aim at in Japanese water features.

pheasantgreat titAgainst the gentle ambient sound there's the 'squeaky bicycle pump' song of the Great Tit and, at the edge of the wood, the explosive 'grockle!' of a cock Pheasant. next page

Richard Bell
Richard Bell,
wildlife illustrator

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