Richard Bell's Wild West Yorkshire nature diary


Friday, 26th April, 2007
fledglinglandingA MALE BLACKBIRD hops down on to the bed by the cordon apples, followed by a female. It seems unusual to see them sticking quite so closely together; the male is usually strutting around seeing off a rival at this time of year, but I soon see why, they’ve got a fledgling with them, the first I’ve seen this year.

The youngster flies over to the herb bed, landing unsteadily not just because of lack of experience, but also because of the lack of a tail.

bathingIt hops back to the patio and perches on the edge of the bird bath. Has it come across a body of water before?

It hops forwards and ends up waist deep in the water (not that blackbirds have waists) and goes straight into a bathing routine, dipping it’s head down, popping up again and shimmying its wings.

Thrush and Anvil

thrushshellsThe song thrush has been busy at the front of the house: we crunch fragments of snail shells as we walk to the bin. The thrush has also dispatched a snail using the pavement, below the lamp-post, as an anvil to break into the shell.


woodsJust one last test for the booklet; this morning we take the woodland walk around the lake at Newmillerdam. The bluebells at the eastern edge of the Country Park are at their best , pastel, purple-blue beneath the fresh sunlit foliage of the trees on the rim of the valley.

There’s a smell of hyacinth in the air; a musky but not overpoweringly cloying fragrance.