Scottish green pledge failure should not be condemned

Scotland's fragile environment

As widely reported, the Scottish Government has acknowledged that its environmental target of a 75% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 is now unattainable, and has been widely condemned for it. It’s certainly easy to feel angry about this admission.  But to criticise it misses three important points. Firstly, if we condemn our politicians for admissions of failure, we simply encourage them to conceal any such failings. It’s a common trick to release bad news on a day when

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The benefit of backward knees

spoonbill kneeling

Odd things, knees, when you think about it. At some point in evolutionary history, nature decided that instead of walking on a single, rigid stick, life would be better if we broke the stick in the middle and made it floppy, and then had to have a complicated system of muscle and tendons and ligaments to make it all go straight again. Why? If a straight leg was too long, surely the answer was just to make it shorter. But 

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Ghost-hunting in Norfolk

my first sighting of the ghost hare

The star-gazing hare said to bring good luck. The Romans’ and Greeks’ sacred hare. The Cornish white hare believed to warn of coming storms. Across the globe, the brown hare has long been seen as something special to humans, more spirit or ghost than just an animal. It’s Spring, that traditional time for the ‘Mad March Hare’. Normally leading fairly independent, solitary lives, brown hares come together at the start of the breeding season in Spring, to court and mate.

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One small friend

the female blackcap

I hope that I’m someone who never takes the natural world for granted, but a recent experience underlined its importance for me. I’ve been silent on my blog for quite a while. Partly due to working on my latest book, but mainly due to an accident. But while I’m fine now, twelve hours in A&E, and some emergency surgery  left me stuck in a chair for several weeks recuperating, with only the TV and a narrow view of my garden

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Picture of the year, 2023

questionmark

At this time of year, when the days are short and gloomy, I like to look back at the encounters I’ve had during the year and try and choose my favourite image. Every year, it gets harder.  Do I choose the best photo, or the rarest or most unusual species? Or the picture that was the hardest to get? In the end, I always choose the image that brings me an emotion, an image where I’ve felt elated or tearful

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drifting mists and silent paws

bitch otter

There is a lot to be said for autumn. Indeed, I told someone recently that I couln’t live a country without seasons, for all the problems that they sometimes bring. Weather is like music: if you only ever heard one note, it would get incredibly boring. The dance of the seasons as they drift into each other is part of what makes life interesting. Mind you, standing in the freezing cold looking for something that isn’t there often takes the

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