1.10 p.m., Horbury; A BARRED brown Sparrowhawk is being mobbed by a flock – a ‘charm’ but I’m sure that the Sparrowhawk doesn’t see it that way – of about 20 Goldfinches over the trees by the Memorial Park. It swoops over the town hall then soars up towards the convent, pausing occasionally at the top of its arc of flight, as if it’s considering stopping to hover like a Kestrel.


The new Field Guide to the Micro Moths of Great Britain and Ireland by Phil Sterling and Mark Parsons, illustrated by Richard Lewington, has inspired me to have a go at setting up a moth trap at the end of the garden in my recently mown and hacked back ‘meadow area’.

Having asked a couple of friends who’ve done a bit of moth trapping – in fact one of them has done moth surveys for a living since since he left college – I’ve decided to go for the cheaper but more fiddly option of making my own moth trap.

The basis of this is a low energy flourescent blacklight; a 20 watt ultra violet light as used in discos.


As I walk down the garden to close the greenhouse, 14 House Martins are circling and chattering a hundred feet above the meadow. A reminder that autumn hasn’t totally set in although it won’t be long before they set off back to Africa.

I pick a couple of Supersweet tomatoes in the greenhouse and a couple of raspberries from the canes as I walk past, none of which makes it back to the kitchen.

Sketchy Impressions

First page in a new A4 Pink Pig cartridge paper sketchbook.

By the way, apologies for the scrappy drawings but there’s a reason for these. I’m out of the habit of regular sketching, particularly of wildlife subjects so I decided that to get myself back in drawing mode for the autumn I’d go back to the main method that I used for my Wild West Yorkshire nature diary in the early years, drawing the day’s wildlife observations from memory in as simple a way as possible, in this case fountain pen and watercolour crayons.

To get over the time that I spend sitting at the computer writing and revising text, I decided that I’d also write my notes in the sketchbook.

Writing by hand makes me slow down and think about what I’m writing and it usually turns out to be coherent enough not to need the revisions and tweaks that I always find myself doing when I’m typing my thoughts directly to the computer.

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