The Coot: More than a Monochrome Miscreant 

I’ve always thought the humble Coot was a much-maligned bird. Often seen as the aggressive local pond bully, forever bickering with its own and other species, and piercing the peace with its explosive “pink” call. They upset the Mute Swan feeding public as they steam in and thieve the spoils from under the bills of more popular birds.

In Winter, I’ve even seen them run over the backs of Mute Swans using them as a set of giant avian stepping-stones to get to the front of the queue!They definitely deserve a second look though, especially at what lies beneath the water.

Read more →

The Viewing

In spring I sign into a webcam trained on a tower every day. Twice a day. More. Joining thousands of web-watchers curtain-twitching over eagles, ospreys, and every kind of owl. You can spend hours scrolling a steady diet of pigeon, sand-eel, and things that went squeak. But I like the peregrine falcon. Whether on the campanile of the University of Southern California, a disinclined cliff-face, or the gravel-lined tray on a church tower in Tewkesbury, I am rooting for their hook-hunt certainties as they hurtle through the sky.

I don’t tell my partner that’s why we’re here. The house is guarded by a jump-jet fleet of dragonflies and squadrons of red admirals, thwarting our progress on disciplined wing.

Read more →

New Year, New Blog!

It has been a long-held belief of mine that new year resolutions are pointless, setting you up for an annual fall, making January and February even more miserable by highlighting the fact that you have no willpower and are a big dumb loser. We’ve all done it, pledging to exercise more, eat less meat, understand grime, learn the seagulls. Don’t even get me started on dry January – that’s just for alcoholics.

So, this year I’m not making any promises that I can’t keep. I know my limitations. I’m happy to set achievable targets, the ones that I can hit without even trying.

Read more →