Birds

The art of wasting time

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National Tulip Day in Dam Square, Amsterdam

This weekend, as with every weekend, I had a mental list (sometimes it’s even a written list) of things I wanted to get done. For instance, this weekend I wanted to clean the bathroom, hoover, do laundry, revise for a Dutch test, work on an essay I’ve been writing, write a blog post and make a start on reading a report for work. There’s also the food shopping that needs doing, that dreaded chore that we usually end up leaving until late on a Sunday. That’s a lot of stuff to get done in one weekend, especially considering writing can easily swallow up an entire day.

So, its Sunday evening and how did I do?
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My imaginary pet bird

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This Christmas I got an early present from my boyfriend, a little bird to go on our tree. He bought it for me because I’d previously mentioned a similar tree decoration that I’d had as a kid. It was a similar sized little bird with wire on its feet to attach it to the tree, but the decoration I remember from my childhood was a robin (as far as I can tell this new bird is an as yet undiscovered species – my bird book doesn’t have any promising leads either).Read More »My imaginary pet bird

Visitation from a sparrowhawk

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Image by Meneer Zjeroen

Image by Meneer Zjeroen

There is a tree right outside my office at work and someone in the office above me has bird feeders on their window ledge that drop feed down on to my window ledge. This means I usually have a lot of birds right outside my window (and inside it too if I leave it open too wide!). With all the birds around there’s usually a lot of twittering and cooing going on, which is why I looked up from my desk today, wondering why it was so quiet outside. Immediately I saw the reason for the silence – a sparrowhawk.

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Explorations: University Park Campus

View if the Trent Building and the lake

View if the Trent Building and the lake

I recently moved to Nottingham with my boyfriend and although I love our little second floor flat I’ve definitely been missing my garden back home and my weekly jogs round Alexandra Park. It just goes to show what a difference even a little patch of green can make. Also having shops right on our doorstep means I’ve been getting considerably less exercise, so yesterday I was determined to find a nice green space and go for a long walk. We settled on the University of Nottingham’s University Park Campus, which has a large boating lake and grounds that are open to the public.Read More »Explorations: University Park Campus

Bowing Pigeons

Wood Pigeon

Wood Pigeon

Today as I was watching the garden through my binoculars I noticed two wood pigeons on a branch. I don’t usually pay much attention to the wood pigeons. There are so many of them in our garden and they seem too close to their abundant inner city neighbours to be of interest. However, today I didn’t simply skim over them and I was rewarded with an interesting display.Read More »Bowing Pigeons

The Names of Birds

Blue Tit

Blue Tit

For an aspiring nature writing I am able to identify shamefully few birds. Of course there is an argument to be made for not knowing the names of things. Names are weighted and change the way we think about an object or creature. However, as a writer it is good to be able to tell the reader that I saw a blue tit in the garden this morning, rather than I saw a ‘blue and yellow’ bird, which is what I typed in to Google when I spotted the bird through my binoculars.Read More »The Names of Birds

Review: The Peregrine by J.A. Baker

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The Peregrine is written in the form of a diary that spans from October to April and purports to chart a single wintering season of the peregrines in a small corner of Essex. However, The Peregrine is in fact the culmination of 10 years of stalking and observing on the part of Baker. Baker is a monomaniac, he is obsessed and hypnotised by peregrines, and his level of dedication to them is what makes this book so intriguing and worth the read.

I was sceptical about how interesting a book about one man following a single species of bird could be, and to be honest it is a slow read, but then The Peregrine is a book that demands to be read slowly and savoured. Time and again I found myself re-reading sentences over and over, not because I kept getting distracted or because I didn’t understand them, but because of the beauty of Baker’s language and the clarity with which he portrays the life of the world around him.Read More »Review: The Peregrine by J.A. Baker