• The cycle of life

    Swifts devouring insects over a church tower30 degrees and counting. It's hot and London's mosquito season is in full swing, evidenced by the itchy and angry red swellings on my ankles. Flying insects outnumber frazzled and fractious people in the Capital, luckily there's a horde of swifts and other birds having a feeding frenzy high above us. If only they could gobble-up all the mosquitos!

    More earth-bound birds have sensibly taken to the shade and…

    • 28 Jul 2008
  • Not abstract nor cubist, just awe inspiring

    Seeing is believing, it's a peregrine falcon in central London!It's started. Our Aren't birds brilliant! Tate peregrine watch is underway. The birds are using the Tate Modern's chimney again as their favourite daytime perch. The female and male sit there watching us, watching them.

    From the ground they're a couple of grey smudges, sitting about 90 metres up on the front face of the chimney on some ledges created by raised brickwork. It's not quite the top. If it gets too…

    • 23 Jul 2008
  • Putting the wild back into life

    I ate my first wild blackberry Saturday (12 July), plucked from a bramble in Woodford that was overburdened with fruit!

    I'm more used to them being ready in August/September and although my first blackberry of 2008 was a bit sour, it was plump and juicy and a day of warm sunshine would have set it to rights. It's another example of the changing seasons. Just another plant running ahead of schedule. Strangely, that evening…

    • 14 Jul 2008
  • Country cousins

    The depth of knowledge and sheer joy of working with iconic birds has stood out for me this week during chats with RSPB colleagues at peregrine watches up and down the country.

    An urban peregrineI've been trying to find out more about these amazing birds, with a focus on differences between rural and urban peregrines. There's a hint of a difference but nothing concrete beyond the obvious difference of one lot nesting on cliffs and quarry…

    • 7 Jul 2008