Wednesday, 27 April 2011


a new blog has formed too:

a bit of a gap

Since my last post.... My excuses? Many and varied but too tedious for this shiny green blog.
Now I'm living in a different part of Cambridge, where wildlife is much harder to come by. Luckily, just around the corner is a hidden gem - a lush, green graveyard, with a peaceful atmosphere and teeming with creatures.
Went for a run along its gravel paths and disturbed several squirrels, great tits and blackbirds. Not nearly as exotic as the waxwings still visiting my mum's house (amazing in April) but a sight for sore eyes for me nonetheless.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Madingley Toad Rescue

Had an absolutely brilliant night in Madingley yesterday. Whilst it not be everyone's cup of tea, rescuing toads from the verges and transporting them in comfort (or in buckets, as the case was) to the lake across the road proved to be a most satisfying project. We saved about thirty toads, both tiny males chirping crossly, and the larger females who are expected to carry their mate on their back down to the water.

In true journalist style we were told that had we been there just two nights earlier we'd have seen the pub car park bursting with around 400 lusty amphibians. Still, I was just as happy with thirty.

Friday, 12 March 2010


My April column will focus on the kestrel, but to get you warmed up, here's a quiz I've made:

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

lost heron

Can't believe how fast this year is going.... and that I haven't seen the heron across the river in weeks. I'm not sure whether all the rowers have spooked him, but the view is strangely empty without him there.

In other wildlife news I saw a watervole having a paddle in the rain last sunday, in the brook near the Botanical Gardens.

Also, please vote for my blog here and I win cereal! Dorset Cereals little awards

Monday, 11 January 2010


The more I learn about birds, the more I begin to see them. I was utterly buoyed up by a blurry sighting of a redwing across the river...and yet on my way to Tescos yesterday I found an entire flock gorging themselves on rowan berries, about a metre away from the footpath. Everyone else seemed oblivious, but I stood a while, enjoying their expressive 'eyebrows' and the scarlet flashes of armpit (wingpit?)

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

birds, culture and conservation symposium

Last friday I attended this fascinating event in Oxford, run by Paul Jepson and the lovely Mark Cocker. I went home feeling physically heavier as a result of all the new information weighing down my brain! Not to be overly dramatic, or anything...
It really was a great idea for an event though, a sounding board for ideas in poetry, art, philosophy and science, culminating in a discussion about the future of conservation.
I particularly enjoyed Jeremy Mynott who spoke most impressively without any notes. I'm really looking forward to going birding with him in the spring.

Yesterday I was given some writing to do for the RSPB - essentially writing copy - which I've spent this morning on. It's actually a rather lovely task to edit the letters from volunteers, you get a sense of what being a part of an organisation means to individuals and it can be quite moving.

But enough sentimentality, the weather is foul and my heron is all puffed up in fury across the river.