International Dawn Chorus Day 2020

Taking place on the first weekend of May, International Dawn Chorus Day is the worldwide celebration of nature’s greatest symphony. All across the world people rise early to revel in the sweet sound of birdsong, from rattling wrens in Rotherham to crooning cowbirds in the Caribbean. Dawn Chorus Day has…


Drinking Soil

Walking up through Plashes Wood this afternoon the ground was saturated, leaking from the soil and running along natural breaks and folds in the land. Along one of these lines, populated by damp loving sedges, a rivulet of water disappeared below the soil surface, emitting a sound that could only…


Underpass and river

On a sharp March afternoon in the spring of 2018 I took a stroll out of Wadesmill along the path that follows the River Rib to Thundridge Old Church. My walk that day took me on through the Youngsbury Estate where I watched the newly born lambs that gambled amongst…


House Sparrows – an aid to time travel

The cheerfully chirping cacophony of a community of house sparrows is a sound that takes me immediately back in time to the streets of suburban London and to my Grandma’s house in Kingsbury in the early 1970’s in particular. Some of my earliest memories are of watching sparrows taking dust baths in the grey dry soil of my Grandad’s flowerbeds, below his carefully tended roses and dahlias.

The house sparrows I recorded today are a flock that have come to use our honeysuckle as a daytime base and roost, from which to patrol the gardens and feeders in our row of cottages. My mum visited just before Christmas and the sparrows had the same powerful effect – transporting her back to her childhood home and unexpected memories triggered by the lively chatter and sudden silences of the humble, but altogether charming house sparrow flock

Watching the Water bats

It has been our privilege this summer to takeover a Bat Conservation Trust waterway survey route. We learned of the opportunity when we met Anne and Chris at an early meeting of Friends of the River Rib back in May who for a number of years have conducted the Standon…


An evening visitor

It is last light on Monday evening and we are sitting in the garden drinking a cup of coffee. A faint snuffling catches the ear coming from below the bird feeders. It’s no surprise to find it is a hedgehog and I guess it is not beyond the bounds of…


A night in Plashes Wood

The full moon was heading towards the west yet still bathing the valley with it’s silvery light from a cloudless sky as I crept passed the last houses in our hamlet and headed north. Trying to avoid the crunching gravel that accumulates in the centre of the lane, I walked…