The Wind across the Strands


Richard Bell's Wild West Yorkshire nature diary, Wednesday, 7th November, 2007

woodpeckergreen woodpeckerWE SEE the green woodpecker again, in the same place where we saw it a week or two ago, by the strip of birches along the old mineral railway embankment. Again it flies over the rough riverside pasture but this time, instead of perching on the old telegraph pole, it goes to a gnarled old multi-stemmed elder.

It is joined, almost immediately, by a great spotted woodpecker and the two birds perch there, almost side by side, as if they’re posing for a field guide.

cormorantAs we return, a cormorant battles against the wind as it flies up the valley, following the river. Despite flapping in the normal way, it’s not managing much more than walking pace. It’s the aerial equivalent of trying to walk up the ‘down’ escalator.

canal sideWe feel as if we’ve had a work-out after struggling back home against the wind on the open stretch of towpath alongside the Strands.

blackbirdsparrowhawkFurther along the towpath, as the light is fading, we here an alarm call from a blackbird, not the usual peevish ‘pink!-pink!’, this one sounds really alarmed. The blackbird hurtles into the bramble bush besides us and we realise it has had the narrowest of escapes from a sparrowhawk which has been zipping and zagging along after it. The blackbird is safe for the time being in its cage of briars.