This year I’m going to be focussing on the Yorkshire Dales because I’ve just started writing the nature diary for the Yorkshire Dalesman magazine. My new feature gets a mention on the Dalesman website;
Richard Bell hits the ground running as he gets ready to watch wildlife in the new year’
That sums up the way I feel today.
This new monthly column is all the excuse that I need to explore a National Park that Barbara and I tend to ignore. If we’ve got only a day we tend to head for the Peak National Park, if we’ve got a few days we zoom through the Dales on our way to the Lake District National Park or we head for our favourite stretch of coast where the North Yorks Moors National Park meets the sea.
It’s one of those New Year’s days which make you feel as if a new chapter is opening. It’s bright, cool and breezy. We don’t seem to have seen much sun over the Christmas period or any that we had, I missed.
The river isn’t in flood but it is lapping around the trunks of the willows that grow on a low silty bank by the bridge. A male Goosander, looking as freshly painted as a decoy duck, dives amongst them.
There’s some soft but insistent tapping on the patio windows. The cock Pheasant is back. I can’t tell whether he’s pecking at his own reflection or picking little fragments of spent sunflower seeds from the glass.