A place for the misfit

Conor Jameson marks the death of The Goshawk author T.H White. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the death of author T. H. White, probably best remembered by bird enthusiasts for his mini epic The Goshawk (1951), and by the general public for The Once and Future King, his Arthurian novels, and the blockbuster Disney and Broadway spin-offs that ensued. Like J. A. Baker, author of The Peregrine (1967), White’s work has inspired a number of prominent naturalists. It seems timely to remember the man, and reflect on his life and… Read More

An American Goshawk in Scotland

Conor Jameson has a mystery to share… It has some of the hallmarks of a Conan Doyle murder mystery, complete with period costume, a shooting, a body, a fairytale Victorian Highland setting, suspects, big city and small town locations, journeys in between, and – for good measure and Hollywood appeal – a strong American angle. In fact the central character is a ‘Yank’ – Accipiter gentilis atricapillus to be precise – the fabled Northern Goshawk. It’s spring 1869 and there is unrest in the British Empire – Canada, this time. The finishing… Read More

Rachel Carson Day

Conor Mark Jameson writes … f The RSPB holds its annual weekend for members at York University each spring during half-term. The students are away and the wildfowl own the campus. Members (and staff and volunteers present) are treated to a range of stimulating talks and activities, guaranteed to recharge the batteries, and remind us what multi-tentacled beast is this organisation, grappling with challenges on all sides. Most of all you leave York with the strong sense that there is hope yet for saving nature. This year I was lucky enough to… Read More

The happy denouement

Conor Mark Jameson completes the Cheerps blog trilogy. First thing in the morning I confronted the task of working out how to get Cheerps back in his rightful place. I got the ladder out and climbed up alongside the nest hole. From the side, I could see a sibling sparrow’s head poking out, yelling encouragement at no doubt frazzled parents. The head turned unsteadily on a scrawny neck, got me in focus, fell silent, and slowly – comically – retracted. Looking from the front of the crevice I could see it, as… Read More

Bringing up baby – part 2

After yesterday’s cliffhanger, Conor Mark Jameson takes up the tale of Cheerrps… My foundling sparrow looks surprisingly under-developed, semi-naked, perhaps a week old and only half way to fledging, with bare patches of skin and rudimentary feathers beginning to show. Nidifugous, they call it. Its bulbous eyes are partially open, glinting between crescent lids. To rescue it from the airing cupboard I had to remove my watch and squeeze my hand through a narrow gap, using a screwdriver to manoeuvre the chick into a place from which I could pluck it, as… Read More

Bringing up baby

Guest blogger Conor Mark Jameson answers the cheerrp of nature… If you find a fledgling bird, you should leave it alone. That’s probably the most important thing to remember from what I’m about to relate. And yes I know you probably know it already, and have done ever since you first developed an interest in birds. I need to stress this point because each spring and summer the RSPB’s wildlife advisors field around 10,000 enquiries from people who have found – or, in many cases, ‘rescued’ – a ‘baby bird’. Picking it… Read More

Buzzard love

Prize-winning writer and guest blogger, Conor Mark Jameson, author of Silent Spring Revisited, tells us what buzzards mean to him. I was dismayed this week to hear of the Government’ plan to destroy buzzard nests as part of a trial to see if shooting interests can rear more pheasants to shoot. I find this entirely bizarre. The piece below is from my forthcoming book Looking for the Goshawk, which is a search for the reason why wild birds and proximity to true wildness are integral to our well-being. Soaring spirits The buzzard has a… Read More