Wildlife and Words

My December Webs Survey

Since early 2015 I have been voluntarily undertaking the local monthly wetland bird survey (Webs) for the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO). This involves counting all of the waterbird species (and some other species) that are using Worth park pond... Continue Reading →


The Mistle Thrush Sings

A November morning, with wolf-grey clouds flowing overhead and the north wind gently blowing through the land, encrusting the leaf-strewn ground with frost and sending the magpies a-chackering through the naked trees in protest at the cold. The sun takes... Continue Reading →

If only birding was always like this…

A personal goal of mine, more of a vague wish really, is to see all of the British breeding bird species, and probably all the regular wintering ones too. Largely because I'm a bit of a completionist, but also because... Continue Reading →

The Hunting of the Snipe

An Agony, in Eight Fits.  For it has been agony, John and I have searched for years and years and risked wellingtons and reputation for the fabled Jack Snipe, Lymnocryptes minimus. It has been our golden fleece, our holy grail, and despite... Continue Reading →

Book review: Challenge Series – Winter

How can there possibly be anything in the 21st century left to discover in ornithology, one of the most well-researched fields of natural history? To anyone just getting into the world of birds, such a question is quite reasonable as... Continue Reading →

Has the wildwood theory been debunked?

For a long time now it has been the accepted view that before (and for a short time after) humans arrived in the British Isles, the landscape was covered in a near-continuous, dense broad-leaved forest - the 'wildwood'. This is... Continue Reading →

Owl Encounters: Long-eared

No British owl species is especially easy to see, but the Long-eared Owl really takes the biscuit when it comes to secretiveness. To me, this owl has always had a fabled status; one of those birds that exist only as... Continue Reading →

The Hawfinch irruption

A natural event is currently taking place across Britain that is genuinely exceptional, and rather exciting for anyone with an interest in birds. Every birder is well aware of the difficulty of finding and seeing a Hawfinch, they are infamously... Continue Reading →

Nuclear-powered birding

The shingle headland of Dungeness is really quite a strange place, dotted with fisherman's shacks, old nets and rusting anchors right alongside modern, sleek and shiny and hideously expensive glorified beach huts erected by business executives from London as weekend... Continue Reading →

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