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A Frog in the Moat

Monday, 4th March 2002, West Yorkshire

kingfisher A kingfisher flits out from the bank and off up the Calder, adding a touch of tropical colour in this valley on the verge of spring.

chimney, Thornhill HallWe visit the island in Thornhill Park where the ruined chimney of Thornhill Hall, which was blown up at the end of Civil War siege, still stands. It looks as if the back of the huge fireplace has collapsed or has been grubbed out deliberately. Thankfully it has been repaired with modern brick or this last standing remnant of the old hall might have been lost.

frogs As I return over the footbridge across the moat I notice lots of bubbles rising in the shallow weedy water below. It's probably methane gas rising from the debris-rich mud below but it's frogs, at least a dozen of them, which have stirred it up as the scurried out of sight.

Three of them sit heads just above water around a group of five clumps of frogspawn.

At the top of Millbank several bushes of Cornelian Cherry, Cornus mas, are covered in sprays of tiny star-shaped yellow blossoms. Cornelian cherry is probably an introduced species, present in Britain for at least the last 500 years but probably much longer than that. next page

Richard Bell
Richard Bell,
wildlife illustrator

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