The River runs high
Wild West Yorkshire nature diary, Saturday, 16th January 1999
The marsh reflects the cerulean morning sky as ultramarine. I don't remember a year when water stood so long in this valley bottom rough pasture. There has been open water here since last spring.
Gulls gather in the shallows of the flash on the Wyke.
The river runs high and smooth. Only on an outside bend a little group of whirlpools bob and gurgle.
In the overgrown hedges Blue Tits, Great Tits and Wren seem stirred into action by the morning sun.
In the thorn branches the Blue Tits 'chik-a-dee' call starts as a bright sound byte and ends with a slightly nasal 'zee'.
The Great Tit repeats its squeaky bicycle pump phrase.
Down in the brambles the Wren's petulant rattles are followed by a powerful little dry torrent of a song.
The Pied Wagtail's call sounds like the car keys in the pocket of a rather slow athlete jumping hurdles.
Running like Groucho Marx, a Moorhen scuttles off the open field into a patch of willow carr.
I rescue an earthworm from a towpath puddle and pop it in the field. Then glance around to check that no one had been watching. Every day vegetarians and meat-eaters alike benefit from the actions of the earthworm. I feel obliged to return the favour once in a while.
Richard Bell, wildlife illustrator
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