Richard Bell's Wild West Yorkshire nature diary

Pocket Monocular

moorhen and mallardSunday, 7th January, 2007
monocularAS WE CROSS THE BRIDGE, Barbara spots a moorhen alongside the lonesome mallard drake in the silty backwater.

It's a chance to test out my new monocular, which I just happen to have in my pocket. It's a little Gelert 8 x 21, a Christmas gift from Barbara, so not what you'd take with you for a day's serious bird-watching but, unlike binoculars, you can just pop it in your pocket. When you're out, a little monocular in your pocket is far more useful than the biggest pair of binoculars sitting at home in the cupboard.

mallards mallardsWith such a restricted field of view (131 metres at 1000 metres) it's tricky to home in on the birds and I miss the moorhen but when I focus on the mallard I discover that he's got a female alongside him. She blends in so well with the dried stems and debris in the shallows that we hadn't spotted her when we first looked down. I suspect that she was there when I wrote about the lonesome drake on Thursday.

thornsShows the advantage of popping a monocular in your pocket.

We were walking up into Horbury to call on Barbara's mum, which is where I drew the hawthorns (right) as seen through her kitchen window.