Thursday, 4 January 2018
A "Lifer" and some Recent Reading
Last Saturday we visited a couple of local country churchyards to look for Hawfinches. There were loads of yew trees but, as far, as I could see very few berries left and definitely no Hawfinches.
I was still seeing reports of up to 5 Hawfinches being spotted at Berkswell churchyard so on Monday D and I returned for our third attempt at spotting this species. On previous visits there were no other birders around but on Monday there were around a dozen. When we arrived a bird had just been spotted in one of the yew trees and, although I couldn't find it in my binoculars, a kind couple let us see it through their telescope. Later I got good views when it perched on another tree more in the open.
Record shots taken by D - I was too busy trying to get a view with the binoculars to use my camera!
I've wanted to see this species for many years so it was a relief to finally catch up with it although I have to say there is something a little unsatisfying about attending a twitch which is probably why we went off to search of our own a few days earlier! It was still a good start to the bird year list :)
There was a big flock of Jackdaws in the churchyard.
I've been meaning to read this book for some time and it is without doubt a thought-provoking read and one of the best "nature" books I read over the course of the last year. The author argues that so far the ever threatened natural world has failed to be saved by the ideas of sustainable development and ecosystem services. He suggests instead we use our joy in nature to protect it. There are some beautiful descriptions of some of his wildlife encounters together with moving accounts of childhood trauma. Right at the end of the book he writes of his efforts to see all British butterflies in the course of a year and, if I can find a criticism of the book, it is that I would have liked this section to have been longer and more detailed.
I've recently taken an excellent course with Futurelearn on William Wordsworth and sections of the course covered the journals of Dorothy Wordsworth. I do have an illustrated version of her journals which is a lovely book but I don't think it includes all of the journals so I purchased the book mentioned on the course for my Kindle.
I've loved every John Lewis-Stempel I have read so far and this was no exception although it is a very short book but it is packed with information on owls and their legend and history.
Now for some fiction - I enjoyed this book - the series I think is improving.
Another Maisie Dobbs - I really like these books - they have a charm all of their own and this was the best in the series so far.
I just loved this book - a young botanist's story of his quest to see every UK orchid in one year. His passion shines through and there is so much information on orchids. It certainly made me want to go out and search for some orchids of my own - a very inspiring writer.
A short essay on the joy of reading and giving books which I really liked.
The only PD James book I have read in the past was "The Children of Men" but I spotted this book of four short stories in Waterstones while Christmas shopping and couldn't resist buying it. Four super stories and I will read more of her full novels perhaps starting with Inspector Dalgleish.
I read the Ruth Galloway books really quickly as I just can't put them down! There is an interesting turn of events at the end of the book - I won't reveal what in case anyone is yet to read this book and I can't wait for the next one. Postscript I have just checked on Amazon and Book 10 is out - I am not sure how long I will be able to resist the urge to buy this although it is pretty expensive at present for the Kindle! Perhaps I will go along to the library and see how long the waiting list is!!
Edit - apologies - Have just revisited Amazon - the 10th book is only available for pre-order (it is not out until February!).
*D Photos taken by D with the Canon SX50 bridge camera.