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Songs from the Wood – Spring

Spring Near Midhurst - 1977 by S R Badmin RWS RE AIA FSIA (1906-1989)

Songs from the Wood - one of four posts: Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter - the cornerstones of this blog, about the birds I see through the year. Spring is about woods, dawn, birdsong and the Dawn Chorus - a prelude to Summer. Follow me, if you will - share your favourite birdsongs ... for others to hear.

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Under the Snow – of Winter

Winter Wildfowl by Maurice Wilson in collaboration with Rowland Hilder

Under the Snow of Winter - one of four posts: Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter - the cornerstones of this blog, about the birds I see through the year. Follow me, if you will - leave your own footprints in the snow ... for others to follow.

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Artists Inspired by Nature – Basil Ede

Dipper by Basil Ede - 1978

Another post in my series of short biographies about artists and writers inspired by Nature and the Countryside. Basil Ede was born at Bookham, Surrey, on February 12 1931, and developed his love of drawing at an early age, later on becoming widely regarded as one of the worlds great wildlife artists.

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Birds in Music

Nightingale Singing

For many musicians and composers birdsong is the ultimate musical composition - yet is it music: Birds use variations of rhythm, relationships of musical pitch, and combinations of notes that resembles music, but without fixed musical intervals, as on a scale, there is a chaotic randomness to their singing.

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A Song for May

The Hawthorn (or May Tree) by Margaret W. Tarrant (1888-1959)

A Song for May - This post is a mashup of anecdote, memoir, and selected prose from Richard Jefferies and W H Hudson, illustrated with seasonal atmospheric soundscapes. Join me for a day, if you will in a celebration of nature’s symphony ...

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A Deceit of Lapwing – The Seven Whistlers

Lapwing by R B Talbot Kelly


Forty or fifty years ago the Lapwing, Peewit, or Green Plover, was a regular nesting bird in Britain but ‘advances’ in agricultural practices – land drainage and general intensification – have, lamentably, driven it from traditional farmland breeding grounds.

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In Search of Yellowhammer, Corn and Cirl Bunting

Field and Open Countryside Birds (Yellowhammer, Corn Bunting and Cirl Bunting)

Julian Hughes Bird Notes columnist of RSPB Conwy wrote a while back about Yellowhammer, Corn Bunting and Cirl Bunting, in the Daily Post I think, quoting an article from the Llandudno Advertiser sent to him by Adrian Hughes at Llandudno’s  Home Front Museum.
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Artists Inspired by Nature – Charles F. Tunnicliffe, OBE, RA

Magpie by Charles F. Tunnicliffe, OBE, RA (1901-1979)

Charles F. Tunnicliffe, OBE, RA (1901-1979) was probably the best illustrator and bird portraitist of the last century. His work across a breadth of media – watercolour, pen and ink, woodblock engraving, etching and scraperboard – and across a variety of subject matter, has stood the test of time and is widely collected.

If you grew up in the fifties like me you probably read Ladybird nature books and collected Brooke Bond tea cards – all illustrated by Tunnicliffe. You might even have read the Puffin edition of Henry Williamson’s Tarka the Otter, with its cover and beautiful illustrations also by Tunnicliffe.

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Of Bee-eater (and Bittern), Egret and Avocet

European Bee-eater


I have never seen a Bee-eater ... but it was this bird or at least a story about it that inspired me, enthused me, and changed my life. Prompted also by moving from country village to town, from being a country lad to city dweller. The year was 1957. From then on I became a watcher of the countryside - its people, birds, and animals.

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The Dipper or Water Colley – A Study in Black and White

Dipper by Carl Brenders

The Dipper is a bird of fast tumbling mountain and moorland streams - I’ve seen them on the rushing waters of Devon and Cornwall moors, the Staffordshire moors and Derbyshire Dales; the mountain streams and lakes of Snowdonia, and on tidal stretches of Welsh and Cornish rivers - the Ogwen and Fowey. But I knew it best on a little lowland brook - the Cam - meandering through a pastoral landscape near Bath.

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