The power of empty places

grey-haired mining bee peers fom its nest hole

Recently,I stood next to a small patch of scrubby grassland. Roughly triangular in shape, bounded on each side by footpaths worn by countless walkers boots, it measured perhaps ten feet across with the rotting remains of a small tree, now reduced to just a few moss-covered logs in the the middle.   Anyone, including me, would have glanced at it quickly, seen a tangle of leaflitter and nettles and passed by. But yesterday I was looking for a bee. I’m trying

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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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Who stole winter?

I know that it can happen ay any time of year, the amorousness of males typically being a year-round kind of thing, but the sight of two boxing hares surrounded by a flock of lapwing at the end of January brought to focus the way in which the seasons are drifting like untethered dinghies on an ebb tide, losing their distinct and welcome identity. Once,  the sharp edges of our seasons brought change and celebration, the high, sharp heat of

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