September 12, 2021

A walk in Middleton Down nature reserve today. Perfect weather. Red kites, ravens, wheatears and yellow hammers. Still plenty of wild flowers.

August 29, 2021

Recently discovered a local nature reserve while exploring our area on bike. Can’t quite believe I’ve lived here for 14 years and didn’t know about this one. Alright, it’s just a small area and not well known, so I can let myself off the hook. Took my son and dog for a walk there this morning. Good bit of mixed woodland with some fine looking sweet chestnut trees.

January 29, 2021

It’s blowy, wet and cold out there this morning. But I could hear a blackbird singing. First one of the year. And not it’s winter sub-song but the full-phrase version. So while it’s still winter in that damp way we seem to specialise in here, you can hear spring coming.

January 24, 2021

A couple centimetres of snow this morning. Funny how that completely changes the dynamic of the bird interactions at our feeders. As a rule each species tends to keep a respectful distance from each other. The sparrows are a boisterous lot and are generally a bit much for the blue tits. But then the robins usually see off the sparrows, and pretty much anyone else. Today, particularly on the table where we put old apples and bird seed, they were all piling in, the need for food taking precedence over any kind of hierarchy. Read more

October 18, 2020

One morning this last week I stepped outside at first light. It was very still and quiet. My attention was drawn to the sound of redwings overhead. The first I’ve seen this autumn. Just a few small flocks but a sure sign of the turning of the seasons. Later on the same day I saw a handful of swallows. Another remnant of summer. Two species who’s combined migratory range extends from Siberia to South Africa. Read more

October 4, 2020

In the first four days of October we have had two–three times the rainfall that we had throughout the whole of September. Over the past week we have had the first frost, first evening with the wood burner lit, and the first mornings with the heating on. A small flock of mistle thrushes was in the chestnut tree in the church yard next door - we occasionally see a pair around here, but to see a flock can only mean they are winter migrants from the continent. Read more

Stephen James

Minding the gaps


© Stephen James 2021

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