Feathers wagging

The garden was resplendent, a vibrant palette of autumn colours. The oak tree was ablaze with reds, oranges and yellows. The leaves on the shrubs, bushes and trees varying from deep greens to bright reds. Many of the smaller trees had dropped their leaves, leaving twisted dark branches except for the silver birch whose striking … More Feathers wagging

One little petrel

It was July 2018 and I had just finished my first evening of catching storm-petrels on Sule Skerry. As dawn had broken, lightening the sky from dark velvet black to deep blue, rain had moved in and the dark rocks, capped white with the guano of seabirds, had become slippery and treacherous under foot. The … More One little petrel

The Owl of Athena

Night on a working farm is not quite completely quiet or completely dark. The surrounding fields are cloaked in darkness and the sky above is filled with stars. Across this nightscape we hear the ‘seep’ of calling redwing, returning for the winter. Tall buildings loom out of the black, their angular lines and features illuminated … More The Owl of Athena

Pretty in Pink

The afternoon sun was low in a blue sky with just a few wisps of white cloud. Sunbeams slanted through the trees and bushes, turning the tops of the reeds, heavy with seeds, golden yellow. It was the last weekend in September and with the final early start at our reed bed site the following … More Pretty in Pink

Changeable Bay

It felt like history repeating, and I had an ominous feeling of de ja vu. It is mid-September and the first storms of the autumn are sweeping across the Atlantic heading for the UK and Ireland, and once again I am heading out on the ferry to Santander across the Bay of Biscay with the … More Changeable Bay

Little Sea Dancers

Night has come to the island. Although the darkness is not absolute and will only last for a brief couple of hours at this time of year. The skies overhead are for once still. It is eerie not to see it filled with racing puffins, marauding gulls and pirating skuas. All are settled for the … More Little Sea Dancers

Guillies and Razors

On the sheer cliffs and geos of Sule Skerry there are hundreds of guillemots. The rocks are white with their guano as the birds perch on precarious ledges overlooking sheer drops into the churning water below. Sitting near a colony is an assault on the senses. Everywhere you look there are hundreds of these dark … More Guillies and Razors