CUCKOO – HARBINGER OF SPRING AND CHEAT

Cuckoos are on the way! Satellite tagging by the British Trust for Ornithology has revealed their extraordinary journey. Cuckoos spend the winter with lowland gorillas in the African Congo rainforests. They leave in early March and fly to West Africa, where they fatten up in preparation for the crossing of the Sahara. They then endure a 50-60 hour non-stop flight over this vast desert. After recuperating on the shores of the Mediterranean, they continue north through Europe, reaching Britain towards the end of April.

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1963 – 2013: birding at Southill Park revisited

Conor Jameson’s British Birds feature provides food for thought on the changing status of species at Southill Park over the past 60 years. While doing some research for my book Silent Spring Revisited, I came across a 1963 issue of the Bedfordshire Naturalist journal that included an account by Bruce Campbell of a nesting bird survey that he and the (then) British Birds editor James Ferguson-Lees carried out that year. They were repeating a survey first conducted sixty years earlier. Campbell takes up the tale: ‘On June 4th, 1903, Jannion Steele-Elliott, the… Read More

The tale of the pickled waxwing

” … one of the many reasons for which Nigel is renowned in the company is the permanent presence on his desk of this admittedly gruesome item”