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Ice on the Pond

Friday, 9th February 2001, West Yorkshire

blackbird bathing THE ICE ON THE POND doesn't stop the birds from bathing. At the shallow end, where it isn't shaded by the garden shed, the sun has melted as small corner of the ice cover. A Blackbird bathes vigorously, then flies of with a flourish. Next a House Sparrow takes the plunge and flies off to dry itself in a sunlit section of the hedge.

wren Wren and a Blue Tit also come to the edge of the pond, not bathing but following the edge of the ice on the look out for insect food.

catLooking out of the patio windows, I'm puzzled that the usual crowd of birds isn't flocking to the bird table. Then I notice that a neighbour's cat has installed itself below. I tap on the glass and it gives me a surprised disdainful look so I open the window and it races off down the garden path. A flock of sparrows soon gathers in the hedge.

snowdrops Down at the far end of the garden the Snowdrops on my so-called meadow area at the end of the garden are a reminder that I'm going to have to start planning what I'm going to do in the garden this year. The meadow is a bit of a failure; over the years it has grown more and more to resemble the rather neglected pasture on the other side of the hedge. Perhaps I should re-sow it. When it was first sown, some fourteen years ago, it was attractive enough to be a subject for one of my watercolours.

goat Glimpses out of the window have been my only contact with nature all day, so I'm glad of my regular walk to the post office for a change of scene. A black and white goat turns to take a look at me as I pass a garden by the river.

canal bridge It's growing dark by now but there's still time for the shortest of strolls along the towpath. Our canal and river can hardly be described as spectacular, except when in flood, but I've got so used to being able to take a walk by the water on any day of the year that I wouldn't want to be without them. On a much smaller scale this bridge reminds me of the bridges alongside the Seine in Paris. next page

Richard Bell
Richard Bell,
wildlife illustrator

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