Richard Bell's Wild West Yorkshire nature diary

A Nye of Pheasants

Thursday, 4th January, 2007
moonA COOLLY SILVERY full moon hung high over the lower end of the wood yesterday evening, illuminating the edges of veils of cloud.

mallardThere's no let up in the wild weather today. Tumbling grey-brown waters run over the broken weir on the Calder while in the quieter backwaters, by a submerged, debris-strewn bank of silt, a drake mallard looks oddly alone and disconsolate, with no sign of a female in the area. They're usually together at this time of year.

Ipheasantn contrast, in the back garden at breakfast-time, seven female pheasants ambled up the path from the meadow and milled about on the lawn by the feeders, soon followed by three males.

Barbara, who is doing crosswords as I wrote this, informs me that, according to a clue she's just read, the collective noun for a brood of pheasants is a nye.

goldfinchesWith twenty or more goldfinches fluttering down from the crab apple to the sunflower heart feeders and dunnocks hopping around on the patio, it looks like a busy farmyard out there.

dunnockOne dunnock hops under the bird-bath which now rests on three house-bricks at the corner of the patio. After I'd cleaned out the bird-bath last week, I decided that if I applied gentle pressure I'd be able to straighten its bent stem . . .

'CRACK!' That wasn't a good idea.

Our patio is a suntrap and in the fierce heat of summer the full strength of the sun strikes one side of the hollow plastic stem and the bird-bath starts to bend like a wilting flower.