Watching the birds on my bird table, I am always impressed by the dexterity of their manoeuvres in dealing with food. Their bills might seem crude Read more
Many of the best animal stories are fables. So I thought I’d write one of my own. It was inspired by the photograph above, which was given me by a friend.
Not long ago there was a heron that was born in the countryside close to the city. Read more
Whenever I pass between the two little ponds that adjoin the road to my house I see a small flock of coots grazing on the grass. They look like fluffy black commas, rather comic birds, from which character its name perhaps derives. The white shield above its beak has given rise to the phrase, ‘bald as a coot’; and to be ‘queer as a coot’ is to be somewhat Read more
On Boxing Day this year (Dec 26th) at Ham Wall nature reserve in Somerset I saw a bittern. Not only did I glimpse this elusive bird, I saw it dance at the edge of a pool, Read more
It may seem untimely, and perhaps a little odd, but a leaf blown across the grass in a manner that strongly resembled that of a lolloping frog or a toad reminded me Read more
Undoubtedly one of the most gorgeous creatures to be found within these isles is the male cock pheasant. For once, the term is not an exaggeration. Should the sunlight catch its iridescent green and indigo head with its pure white ruff or the subtle bronze, grey, blue and vermilion shading of its rather ample body, you will see a bird that would not be out of place in a tropical rain forest. Among the rich reds and golds of an English autumn it is simply splendid. Read more
“Above all the birds of winter, the frosty feldefares”: so says Mark Cocker, citing Chaucer. And it’s true: if ever a bird was associated with winter it is the Fieldfare. Once the Rowan Read more