One for sorrow…

turtle dove

Five years ago I was moved to tears by one of the saddest things I have ever seen. My wife and I were celebrating our silver wedding anniversary (no, that’s not why I was crying!). We’d broken the piggybank open, burnt our savings, and gone on safari in Kenya. As part of our trip our guide took us, unexpectedly, to  rhino sanctuary. And there we saw Sudan. Sudan was as that time the world’s last male Northern white rhino. Since

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In the land of dragons, a new contender

male lesser emperor dragonfly

I recently returned from Scotland, having fulfilled a five-year quest to photograph all of Britain’s native breeding butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies. Despite some truly atrocious weather I brought back the precious final pictures of the elusive northern species – the northern damselfly, the northern emerald dragonfly and the azure hawker dragonfly. I also brought back a bad case of Covid-19, which, being a generous type, I promptly gave to my wife. As you can imagine, nipping off for a private

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Not just a silent spring, but a colourless summer

all the butterflies

In 1962, Rachel Carson wrote her classic book ‘Silent Spring’. In it, she described the impact of the pesticide DDT, which was killing wildlife throughout the food chain, but especially silencing the birds whose song she heard every spring. The book caused enough shock that DDT was eventually banned almost everywhere. But Rachel lived in more innocent times. Since the 1960’s, things that were once unthinkable are now routine, and every time we think nothing could get worse, we are proven

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Is it time to permanently stop visits to the Farne islands?

arctic tern

I’ve recently returned from a trip to Scotland. On my way back down to Wiltshire, I decided to fulfil a longstanding ambition and visit the Farne islands. If you’re interested in wildlife, the Farnes have always beenone of those places that you need to visit at least once in your life. Nestling a few miles south of the holy island of Lindisfarne, and a couple of miles offshore from the Northumberland coast,  “island” is perhaps too grandiose a word for

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A day out with dinosaurs

male emperor dragonfly eating

#30 days wild is an initiative run by the wildlife trusts to get all of us, especially our children out into nature. Why not give it a go?  For Friday’s #30dayswild, I went to the seaside.  It’s a good place to cool off on a really hot day, and a brilliant way to explore nature – searching rockpools for small crabs, and if you’re lucky, seeing some of those small, almost transparent, fish that hide amongst the waves as they

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Death by Burnet

5 spot burnet moth

This time is year is characterised by many things. The occasional sunny day (it is Summer, apparently).  Hayfever. England’s cricketers gloriously losing or (this summer at least) emphatically winning. Wild orchids in their Sunday best. And the sight, on many of our grassy downlands, of a butterfly that seems have to come over from the dark side. It’s black with red spots on its wings, and when you look a little more closely, you realise that’s its not a butterfly,

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