Rare Species to Look out for this Spring

By Charlie Elder, author of Few and Far Between There is something about rare wildlife that captivates us. From seahorses to snow leopards, scarcity bestows a certain quality, an undeniable allure. Encounters with seldom-seen species can be among our most treasured memories. And not only do rare animals embody a celebration of the diversity of nature around us, they also highlight the uniqueness of species and the fragility of life on earth. To see them can be both a thrilling and a moving experience. When I set out to find a selection of… Read More

It Wouldn’t be Easter without Eggs – Tim Birkhead Explains it All…

Tim Birkehad, The Most Perfect Thing: Inside (and Outside) a Bird’s Egg When I started to write about birds’ eggs I wondered whether anyone had established which of the different shapes was most common. Obviously when we talk about something being egg shaped we are usually thinking of a hen’s egg, which is ‘oval’, but with an obvious blunt and pointed end and whose greatest width lies closer to the blunt end. To my surprise nobody seems to have quantified egg shape across all families of birds. Part of the difficulty, of… Read More

How to Make an Easter Tree

With Easter holidays coming up, we’re looking at creative ways of getting the family away from the screen and in to the green! Our author, Hattie Garlick, has come up with hundreds of ideas in her book, Born to be Wild. Given the season, we’re sharing her tips on ‘how to make an Easter tree’. And it goes, roughly and messily, like this: Go out, and hunt down some fallen sticks and twigs. Put the sticks and twigs in a vase or empty jar at home to make the basis of your… Read More

Whale Watching – get out there, and good luck!

Blog post by Mark Carwardine, author of the best known and best-selling guide to Whale-watching in Britain and Europe No one ever says ‘I can’t remember if I’ve seen a whale’. A close encounter with one of the most enigmatic, gargantuan and downright remarkable creatures on the planet is a life-changing experience for most people. Over the past 34 years, I’ve spent countless thousands of hours watching whales (and dolphins and porpoises – by ‘whale’ I am talking about all cetaceans), yet I still remember my first encounter. I was 21 years old,… Read More

The Brightest Star of Them All -The Leopard

There’s a moment in The Chronicles of Narnia when Hwin the mare meets the great lion Aslan. “Please,” she said. “You’re so beautiful. You may eat me if you like. I’d sooner be eaten by you than fed by anybody else.” I’m always reminded of Hwin when I see a leopard. Particularly when I see a night-hunting leopard in the Luangwa Valley in Zambia. The Valley is a different place by night. The day-shift has clocked off, the night-shift is in full-swing. Creatures you never see in the day are now centre-stage:… Read More

How to feed your Garden Birds this Christmas

Less than a week to go until the feasts of all feasts – Christmas Dinner. Whether it’s Turkey with all the trimmings, or a box of Quality Streets, it is always a treat to look forward to. But let’s not forget our feathered friends in the garden this year! As the nights are drawing in, you will have noticed a flurry of activity at your bird feeder as things get chillier. This is because birds, like us, need a stodgier diet over the winter months to keep warm. Often on the hunt for… Read More

Some memories of working with Nigel as ‘Rivers’ wins the 2015 Marsh Book of the Year

Just over a year since Nigel died suddenly, some great news which would have pleased him immensely. Rivers has won the much coveted ‘Marsh Book of the Year’ 2015, a prize sponsored by the Marsh Christian Trust. The British Ecological Society awards the honour annually ‘to the book published in the last two years that has had the greatest influence on the science of ecology or its application’. Nigel may even have done a cartwheel for joy, just like he did in a water meadow by the River Test back in 1994… Read More

Things that go bump in the night…

Are owls, bats, spiders and creepy crawlies really as spooky as we make them out to be? Bloomsbury investigates our biggest wildlife phobias… Many creatures in the animal kingdom are associated with fear, loathing and in some cases sheer terror. Bats, spiders and owls are often seen as the biggest offenders. But why do these animals frighten us? Are there reasons for this or are our fears completely unfounded? This month we’ve been investigating the myths and legends behind these creatures – why they started and why they continue to trigger fears… Read More

How to Get Creative with Herring

This month, we’re celebrating one of nature’s real unsugn heroes – the Herring. Scots like to smoke or salt them. The Dutch love them raw. Swedes look on with relish as they open bulging, foul-smelling cans to find them curdling within. Jamaicans prefer them with a dash of chilli pepper. Germans and the English enjoy their taste best when accompanied by pickle’s bite and brine. Throughout the long centuries men have fished around their coastlines and beyond, the herring has done much to shape both human taste and history. Men have co-operated… Read More

A Message from Syria

Phoenix – arise from the ashes Taken in the rubble of a bombed house in the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra this photo, which appeared on Facebook, was immediately tweeted throughout the world, including by Frank Gardner, a keen birdwatcher. The Facebook message from the Syrian birdwatcher who owned the book: ‘What is very precious to us, is totally worthless to others.’ Plans are now well underway for an Arabic version of the second edition of Birds of the Middle East and the exciting cover has just been unveiled. This book is… Read More