Renowned wildlife artist David Binns told me this week of a rare sighting of scoter ducks at Hellifield Flash. I stopped at the Flash (another name for a field pond) on my way home from work and sure enough – from my untrained eye at least –  they were still there. Scoters are normally found on the coast but then nothing to do with Nature seems to be ‘normal’ this year. Birdlife here and a couple of miles further up Ribblesdale at Long Preston Deeps has been more than interesting for ornithologists over the last few months as the water has stayed around longer than it usually does at this time of year. Hellifield Flashes (there are three locally) have provided habitat for wild fowl and migratory birds for as long as locals can remember and offer sanctuary for around twelve species of birds on the RSPB red list. I’ve also seen deer grazing by the water’s edge at Hellifield Flash, despite it being less than a hundred yards from the busy A65. Unfortunately, the land is under threat from developers who want to build a leisure complex here. For more information visit

Photo shows Hellifield Flash yesterday (15 July 2012)

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