Nature next to us

wren nest in bird hide

You can almost guarantee it. It’s that time of year when someone will post a picture of a birds’ nest in an unlikely place – a watering can in the garden, a tyre in a garage. My personal favourite was a family of buetits who always nested in the top of a local streetlight. Another example is this wren, which had chosen to nest between two upright posts of an open-backed bird hide in RSPB Foulshaw Moss. Now it’s an

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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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Unrestrained joy

Jumping for joy? Breaching dolphin

Most wildlife tales these days are grim. All of Britain’s wildlife is declining, and much of it is vanishing quickly. Most naturalists I meet border on clinically depressed.  But just occasionally you come across something in the natural world where the only word you can use is “joy”. Channonry point is a spot on the coast of Scotland’s Moray Firth, just a hair North of Inverness, and it is probably the best place in Britain to watch dolphins. Bottlenose dolphins

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That fuzzy feeling

male sand lizard

I spend a lot of time looking for wildlife. It’s a sad commentary on the state of Britain’s depleted nature that I have to go searching for it. Species common in my grandparent’s day have nowadays become an exciting find. But occasionally, just occasionally, nature comes to you, as happened on a trip to Dorest’s Studland beach recently. I love Studland. The miles of white sand and clear swimming waters make a happy place for my wife, and the mature

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Talk a walk on the wild side

eclipse male red-breasted merganser

The red-breasted merganser is something of a boogie bird for me. One of those species that I’ve tried to see, but only glimpsed. Which is a shame, because it’s a fascinating creature. To begin with, there is something about its name: ‘Merganser’. I have no idea why, but to me it feels like something out of Tolkien, or RR Martin, a creature of fable, the kind illustrated in medieval bestiaries by assembling parts of different animals and topping them with

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