Nature Writing

By Richard Carter | Nature · Place · Writers · https://www.facebook.com/naturewriting

Winter 2017 Reviews

A collection of seasonal reading loosely connected by the themes of landscape, time and memory…<b>The Last London: True Fictions from an Unreal City</b><b> –</b> …

Books

The day of the Rowan

As I approached the Square Metre today, I saw something on the ground that looked rather like an old glove. On closer inspection it turned out to be …

Winter bumbles

On milder days the flowers on the Oregon grapes in the garden are attractive to late flying bumble bees. The example above is, as far as I can tell, …

Warts and All

by <b>Jessica Groenendijk</b><p>I am passionate about cats. I admire their fluid grace and their shape pleases me. Not for me the slavish neediness of dogs, I …

Wildlife

The Lightning Tree

Enjoying life - in all its forms, in a small piece of South Lancashire countryside - my local patch.

On the different lords-and-ladies

One of the most striking plants in late autumn and winter is <b>Italian lords-and-ladies</b> (<i>Arum italicum</i>) whose leaves appear in October or November …

Country diary: squirrel antics brighten up the bleak wintry days

Langstone, Hampshire Grey squirrels begin mating in mid-December, but here the males’ chittering pursuit started weeks ago<p>On bleak, damp days when the trees are devoid of birdlife, I can always rely on grey squirrels to bring a smile to my face. Rain or shine, they come tumbling through the bare …

Nature

Country diary: brief encounter with a woodcock in the wildwood

Bishop Auckland, Durham Gnarled, leafless branches reach out like those menacing trees in Arthur Rackham’s fairytale illustrations<p>The flow of Coundon burn is constricted by farmland and by a tunnel under a road and disused railway embankment for much of its course, but once inside Auckland park it …

Nature

Skein

.UnseenOn the move overhead in the dark, a skein of geese trace elemental songlines. An arc of ancient language: shared, precise, yet never …

Birds

Red list: thousands of species at risk of extinction due to human activity

Unsustainable farming, fishing and climate change has intensified the struggle for survival among vulnerable animals and crops, says IUCN at the release of its latest list of endangered species<p>Thousands of animal species are at critical risk of going extinct due to unsustainable farming and fishing …

Conservation

Country diary: Sleeping Beauty knew a thing or two about spindle's tempting lipstick berries

Wenlock Edge, Shropshire This shrub and its toxic fruit have a minor but magical part in ancient woodland<p>Shocking pink in a winter hedge, as if blown from some forever summer place, it is a colour out of season. And yet the spindle berries are perfectly at home in wood margins and hedges on the …

Nature

Beyond Hope

THE MOST COMMON WORDS I hear spoken by any environmentalists anywhere are, <i>We’re fucked.</i> Most of these environmentalists are fighting desperately, …

Climate Change Is Making Rare Breeding Birds Increasingly Vulnerable To Extinction, New RSPB Report Warns

'Birds in the UK are showing changes in abundance and distribution.'<p>Rare breeding birds are becoming increasingly vulnerable to extinction in the UK …

Birds

Shadows & Reflections: Paul Scraton

Somehow, inexplicably, Shadows & Reflections season is already upon us again. As the year draws to a close, we ask our friends and collaborators to …

Refugees

Country diary: this bird could be spooked by its own shadow

Rockland Broad, Norfolk The water rail’s distressed call tells you everything about its solitary life buried in deepest cover<p>As the light falls in my neighouring parish and the mercury drops, so the bird sounds acquire extra layers of intensity. I’m thinking of the hysterical chinking of blackbirds …

Nature

Think of a heron, always alone

Grey heron by the river Thames at Richmond, south-west London<p>Think of a heron. Hunter of the shallows. Hunched, static, by the waterway. Stalking the …

River Thames

Country diary: a village history told in maps

Comins Coch, Ceredigion A collection of old large-scale maps reveals how much the village has changed over the years – and how much remains unchanged<p>The package leaning against the front door was unexpected, and tightly wrapped against the pervasive drizzle. As the card inside explained, a friend …

Maps

Country diary 1967: sniffing out birds at the sewage farm

5 December 1967 CM Gadd was apparently the first person to realise how migrating birds are attracted to municipal sewage farms<p>CHESHIRE AND LANCASHIRE: I was sad to hear recently of the death of a Cheshire naturalist whose name is probably quite unknown to the great number of ornithologists who have …

Birds

Big invasive snails are driving birds of prey to get bigger | Ars Technica

In central Florida, the prey remakes its predator.<p>The term “Anthropocene” was coined to connote humanity’s recent and indelible impact on the Earth. …

Birds

A Trip to St. Kilda, Scotland’s Lost Utopia in the Sea

In 1877, George Seton, a visitor to the tiny Scottish archipelago of St. Kilda, observed that the men living there had an unusual physiological characteristic. “The great toes of the cragsmen are widely separated from the others, from the circumstance of their frequently resting their entire weight …

British Isles

Are Bird Feeders Driving Evolution Of Longer Beaks In British Tits?

How a simple pleasure, feeding birds, has been translated into a mechanism for rapid evolutionary change in beak length in a British backyard bird species<p>I ran across a sweet little paper in <i>Science</i> recently that documents the rapid evolution of a physical trait in a songbird in response to an …

Evolution

2 December 2017

Yesterday I pondered over Butterfly Rock. The ever changing plateau on the upper surface currently has a loose covering of moss that has been tugged …

Scraps of Wool

An extract from <i>Scraps of Wool: A Journey Through the Golden Age of Travel Writing</i> by Bill Colegrave, published by Unbound.JON SWAIN <i><br>River of Time</i> …

Asia

Parrot Crossbills and Horned Lark

At the moment the UK is experiencing a mini influx of parrot crossbills, an event that happens so infrequently that it's too good an opportunity to …

Bees, our Much-needed Friends

by <b>Gill McEvoy</b><p>It is quite common to see bumble bees out foraging quite late in the evening, even in cooler weather, long after the honey bee has …

Bees

Pollys and pollies collide in Tasmania’s trashed forests | @GrrlScientist

<i>Poorly managed logging of Tasmania’s old growth forests threatens to quickly push Australia’s critically endangered swift parrot over the edge into</i> …

Birds

Raising the Hare

A film by Bevis Bowden. Bevis writes:<p><i>I thought I could almost see myself in the hare’s eye, it was that close.</i><p>Featuring two Welsh voices of the …

Seamus Heaney

Woodnotes: Frost, a Bass Violin, and Falling Out With the Sea

After a short break, <b>Laura Cannell</b> returns with a third instalment of her monthly column on music, landscape, and adventuring…I’ve had some trouble …

Nature

Country diary: quieter times for Badgeropolis

Dolbenmaen, Gwynedd This sett was, I think, first occupied in the early 1950s, its entrances concealed among dense rhododendron thickets<p>This sett I’ve known for 50 years. I think it was first occupied in the early 1950s. Huge now, 200 metres long and 60 wide, with innumerable entrances concealed …

Nature