17 March 2020

St Patrick’s Day. A quick circuit of the lanes at lunchtime to de-stress from all the virus news.

I heard a meadow pipit singing from the field opposite Ernest’s and sat on the low wall to listen. An empty bus passed by. The pipit was then drowned out by an explosive outburst from inside the building: it might be a ruined farmhouse to us, but it’s a highly des res to the local wrens.

Rooks were looping and cavorting above the treetops at Ibbot Royd, and I spotted a threesome of moulting carrion crows in one of the fields. Two of them bore white feathers on their wings: a temporary de-pigmentation known as leucism.

Carrion crows

I completed my circuit without encountering a single fellow walker. Normally this would delight me, but in a time of crisis like this, it felt more than a little sinister.

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Richard Carter is a writer and photo­grapher living in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire.WebsiteFacebookTwitterNewsletterBooks
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