Going for Gold

Thursday, 10th February 2005
Wild West Yorkshire nature diary

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goldfinchesTwo goldfinches come briefly to the bird feeders. It's a reminder to us that we should get around to setting up a thistle seed or niger seed feeder. My friend David in Cumbria gets large numbers of goldfinches on his niger feeders as does my friend Rheba in Texas. She gets two American species of goldfinch but she tells me that, for politically correct reasons, niger seed is now nyger seed in the United States.

That name reminds me of Blake's 'Tyger, tyger . . .'

I've heard it suggested (probably by Robert Graves, I'm not sure) that Blake used the 'y' spelling because it gave the word a visual trigger and so, subliminally, created a sense of potential danger about it.

Pennine moors

There are blue skies and banks of white cumulus but it's cold and windy on the ridge when we call at Armitages Garden Centre, Shelley, for a niger feeder and pole. I enjoy the shelter of the conservatory as I draw the view across Shepley over a cup of coffee. These are drawn with a Staedtler mars professional (the one with the 0.35 mm nib) and, as I hadn't packed my waterbrush, the colour was added with Derwent watercolour crayons (applied dry as I always do).

There's a contrast to the wooded tops of the hills to the south and the bare, open tops of the higher moors to the west. Next Page

Richard Bell, richard@willowisland.co.uk

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