geat tits

The same river?

next page nature diary previous day back Wild West Yorkshire Nature Diary,
Friday 31st December 1999

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the woodland stream great titIN THE WOOD a Great Tit is making its 'squeaky bicycle pump' song; 'Tee-cher! Tee-cher! Tee-cher!'

It must be time to mark out territories again. I don't remember having heard the ringing song since last summer. It makes me feel that spring isn't so far away.

At a glance, a bright, almost florescent, green patch on the shady rockface of the quarry looks as if it's been applied from a spray can. Actually it is a film of powdery Pleurococcus algae.

the canal

The old year seems to be going out quietly. A couple of fisherman sit on the towpath. There's not much birdlife in evidence. A single Wood Pigeon sits at the top of a willow.

I feel restless, a feeling similar to the one I get when I'm spending my last day of the holiday in a foreign country and I know that soon I'll have to catch the plane and leave. I can't settle to anything. There's that nagging feeling that I should be doing something worthwhile before we leave the 1900s for good.

If 'the past is a foreign country', my nature diary is a traveller's journal. I hope it has caught the flavour of the way things were. A lot of the scenes that I take for granted are set to disappear for ever.

the river at night As we walk across the bridge on our way to a family party, I realise that this will be the last time we'll cross the river this year. The last time this millenium, if you go along with the popular conception of it.

Will it still be the same river in the year 2000? We shall soon see.

Richard Bell
Richard Bell,
wildlife illustrator

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