• Life's not black and white

    Four for a boy. Five for silver...Twice this week, I've had people who love birds condemn magpies as the devil's spawn. Their hatred for these birds couldn't be any stronger. Yet, they are magnificent birds. When you look at them up close their plumage is a brilliant, pure white and the black takes on a sheen of metallic green, like oil on water. They look so smooth, sleek and clean you want to touch them, stroke them and feel their their firm…

    • 25 Oct 2008
  • All hail the imperial sparrow

    House sparrowThe BBC's week long focus on invasive species certainly got people talking, which is always good. Let me throw a brick into the debate. As our ancestors explored the globe and created new trade routes, they took house sparrows with them. The descendants of those early sparrow settlers are now invasive species in other countries.

    House sparrows are probably the world's most successful introduced bird. Originally they…

    • 20 Oct 2008
  • Small change versus small changes

    A swarm of swifts... a summer memoryGlobal credit crunch and climate change are vying for position in the newspapers but it's concern over our finances that gets the most column inches, meanwhile I shuffle into the shade in my garden because it's too hot in the sun. 13 October and it's 23 celsius!

    The plants and wildlife in my London garden must be more confused than me, although it was such a nice day I did find myself looking upwards to see…

    • 13 Oct 2008
  • Come and gander at the sparra

    Grey heronHouse sparrows, grey herons and sparrowhawks appear to have been the birds that raised most interest in London this past week.

    A friend of a friend mentioned a website where a few people had been chatting over the appearance of a sparrowhawk in someone's garden. It had caught and eaten a pigeon and they were concerned that it had left a "feathery mess" on the lawn. They were worried that more birds of pr…

    • 6 Oct 2008