Ravens, Clifton Down

The Gully, Clifton Down, Bristol
The Gully, Clifton Down, Bristol

Right next to the Avon Gorge, my standard walk round the Downs should have produced ravens by now. Apparently not. I caught a cronk on my way in from Bridge Valley Road but could only see a buzzard, which wasn’t bad. An impressionist buzzard would have been amazing but I eventually located a shape in a treetop.

Another cronk confirmed that it was my raven before it flapped off. I had much better views while skirting the Gorge and found it, and Continue reading

December 14, 1972

Train to Anywhere
Hop on the Train… to Anywhere

What’s so special about this date? I’ll leave you with that question until a future post as I spin my related thesis that civilisation has been on the way downhill ever since.

One obvious symptom of this collapse around the 70s was the oil crisis. Suddenly society’s very lifeblood wasn’t so cheap and has never been since. Money also lost its meaning as currencies divorced themselves from gold and became credit pure and simple. Of course this fuelled Continue reading

Chew Valley Birding

Away from the pressure of year listing, Sunday provided a nice relaxing session round the lake and even some warmth out of the wind and in the sun. Of course my inner twitcher didn’t desert me entirely and my first stop was for the great northern diver off Woodford Lodge. I also gave myself time to admire a nearby goldeneye and chat to Ian Stapp – another face finally put to a name.

Then it was off to Herriotts for Continue reading

Windy Wiltshire

Shearwater Woods
Shearwater Woods, Wiltshire

Last year was the warmest on record, not just for the UK, but worldwide – such a contrast to the winter of 2009/10 and the end of 2010. Indeed the four years since have seen a mere 2 months clearly below the recent historic average and a staggering 29 a good way above. I’m using 1961-1990 as this average, i.e. about 40 years ago, and in itself hotter than pre-industrial temperatures.

This year has started warm and energetic. Gales swept in from the Atlantic by a jet stream that’s Continue reading

The Year List Fizzles Out

Gaol Ferry Bridge
Gaol Ferry Bridge, Bristol

When you score zero out of a possible four species, you know the game is about up. So it was just before Christmas on the saltmarsh between Brean Down and the Axe Estuary, where not a single Lapland bunting, snow bunting or twite showed. The black redstart in nearby Brean Cove was also absent. About the only ever-present there was the wind, which seemed to have settled in for the rump of 2014.

That ended the year at 211 species. It took my British list over three years to reach that number from ground zero.

The last thing I wanted on January 1st was Continue reading