Man versus bird

Despite often thought of as bringers of good fortune, it’s been an unlucky time of late for birds in this country. What with the furore first over licences to kill thousands of endangered birds and then over the netting of trees and hedgerows to prevent our feathered friends from nesting. Hard times if you’re a…

Soil’s super hero

I don’t know about you but worms are not generally something I tend to give a second thought. Until the other day when my brother pointed out a seagull doing what looked like a nifty tap dance but was actually the gull drumming the ground to fool unsuspecting worms below into thinking that it was…

Poems that the earth writes upon the sky

When it comes to trees, passions can run high. Just think of the outcry last year when Sheffield residents realised that the city council had chopped down more than 5000 street trees in the previous five years, with another 12,000 set to go over the next 20 years. Many were perfectly healthy with decades still…

Hare today, gone tomorrow?

The number of brown hares in the UK is thought to have dropped by as much as 80% over the past hundred years, meaning that there are now less than a million of one of our best loved mammals. Which makes reports that both myxomatosis and the deadly rabbit haemorrhagic disease (RHD) may have crossed…

Has spring sprung already?

I saw the first of this year’s daffodils, often a herald of spring, a little over two weeks ago. Er in January? On last week’s Winterwatch a cameraman had captured a woodpecker drumming in the Cairngorms – behaviour more usually associated with the vernal season when the woodpecker is looking for territory (or a mate!)….

The Lost Species

Wouldn’t it be a glorious sight to watch white-tailed sea eagles diving for fish in the waters around the Solent? The UK’s largest bird of prey, fondly known as a “flying barn door” for its eight foot wingspan, was wiped out in England a century ago but now there are plans afoot to explore the…

Winter cravings

As the winter solstice beckons and the daylight hours dwindle, I start to find myself side-tracked from all thoughts of Christmas prep, ambushed by a recurring reverie of sticky ginger parkin. Six weeks too late I hear you remonstrate, Bonfire Night should have been parkin night… But it’s on the first day of winter proper…