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

Continue Reading

What a beautiful baby!

moorhen chick

Although you might not realise it from the weather, it’s late Spring, almost Summer. That makes it time for all of the new life that is entering our world to make itself seen. It’s also that time when parent creatures are driven frantic by the need to deliver food to growing families. The parents of this pair of little grebe chicks were in constant motion, finding insects and even small fish to feed to their pair.   The effort involved

Continue Reading

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 

Continue Reading

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

Continue Reading

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

Continue Reading

The weird and utterly wonderful

stone curlew

There are species that appear… I don’t know. Slightly smug, perhaps? The ones that are good-looking  and know it. Take the Arctic tern. Exquisitely-designed global wanderer, it has the sleek, graceful lines and curves of a supermodel. It’s a creature that knows you’ll hang its picture on your wall. Then there are those creatures, no less superbly designed, who leave you wondering what accident befell them when they were born. The slug. The lumpfish. Those strange species that only a

Continue Reading

Site Footer