In a roar of silence, they ascend

Golden plover rising

I was at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust’s Slimbridge reserve recently.  It was near high tide on the river Severn, and the whole landscape (which had been bone-dry in the summer) was saturated from torrential rain over several days. As a result, the fields of the reserve are teeming with wildlife. Imagine those films you’ve seen on the BBC of the plains of Africa, full of wildebeest. Now turn them into vast, uncountable numbers of birds. Sitting in one of

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It’s all kicking off…

singing corn bunting

It is definitely supposed to be winter. Christmas is only just past. A couple of years back we were knee-deep in snow on this same week. But the current high temperatures here in the South of the UK mean that some of our wildlife thinks that spring is on the way.  And that can cause some serious problems if the predicted cold snap arrives. I recently visited Salisbury Plain, in Wiltshire. You’ve probably heard of it as a military training

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My photo of the year, 2022

the nightingale in song

At the start of every year, I like to look back over my wildlife highlights of the year just gone. With the final release of Covid restrictions, it’s been a year in which I’ve achieved several personal wildlife goals. I’ve seen and photographed every British butterfly, damselfly, and dragonfly, as well as a third of the British list of birds.  I’ve taken 33,000 photographs, travelled uncounted miles, and seen 65 species that I’ve never seen before. So what should be

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For the girl on the bridge

Kingfisher on the bridge

Recently I was in the Wiltshire riverside town of Bradford-on-Avon. It’s a pleasant place to visit, and I can recommend it, but I was there not the see the town’s attractions, but rather a rare visitor to our shores, a bird called a ‘dusky warbler’. Despite breeding in the Taiga of Eastern Russia and the palearctic, this diminutive little bird – smaller than a sparrow, bigger than a wren – migrates substantial distances south to overwinter in South and Southeast

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The kids are leaving home

House martin and chick

I am walking on a carpet of freshly-fallen brown leaves that crunch beneath my feet. Welcome to…      summer in Southwest England. As the Southwest of the UK starts to feel the bite of the drought already affecting the Southeast, the trees are responding. Unable to support the loss of moisture that comes from their single, long daily breath, they are discarding some of their leaves and retreating, reducing themselves in the hope of surviving until moisture returns. The

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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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