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Nature Notebooks

Jackdaw - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) david Bailey (not the)

Jackdawning realisation

As well as all the Lesser Kestrels, there are Jackdaws everywhere in Matera in southern Italy. They’re on the rooftops, on window …

Heaven in a stony field - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Heaven in a stony field

There are olives, almonds, cherries and artichokes in this stony field in the south of Italy. Heaven.

Stone walls - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Red, White and Green

The red soil, white limestone walls and green grass make a fabulous flag here in Italy.

Mute Swan - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Only an hour to spare…

There’s very good scientific evidence about the health benefits of nature. Scientists showed that people recovering from operations in hospitals needed less …

Rose - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

What’s in a name?

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. I love natural history; I love the thrill of finding different species. …

Duckling - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Easter Duckings

I love ducks. This time of year there are parades of ducklings and their worried parents. Aggressive males peck at the tiny …

Ginger Puss - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Ginger Pussy

When the news gets too much for you and all you hear is politicians bickering and people with no heart and no …

Millipede - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Ten thousand species of millipede

There are something like 10,000 species of millipede. It’s difficult to say exactly how many because the number keeps going up as …

Swallows - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Swallows in the air

We are wandering around Matera, a city in the south of Italy watching the Swallows. The city is vast and seemingly empty, …

Italy - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Limestone walls

The sky is overcast but the weather is warm. The limestone walls are humming and buzzing with life. Italian Ruin Lizards are …

Peacock Butterfly - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Butterflies then and now

I’m looking through one of my old butterfly books. ‘A Butterfly Book for the Pocket’ by Edmund Sanders. It was published in …

Serin - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Could it be a Canary?

I can see a tiny yellow bird at the very top of a house resting on the TV aerial in Matera in …

Italian Wall Lizard - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Agile feet

Experiences in our childhood often retain the depth of emotion that was attached to them at the time, despite the distance in …

Bloody-Nosed Beetle - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Bloody-Nosed Beetle

There’s a Bloody-Nosed Beetle, Timarcha tenebricosa, marching across the field in front of me. They are flightless beetles which struck me as …

Bitterns - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Bittern by the Bird Bug

I’ve got a rare weekend day off and I’m in Otmoor taking in a few hours of sunshine, walking and nature. There’s …

Cat face - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

I’ve just seen a face

The steady gaze of this half-wild cat faces me. It’s behind a tree in the garden of the stable block of the …

Male Mandarin Duck - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey

Male Mandarin

Mandarins are so spectacular it’s hard to believe they’re real, but, as with everything in the natural world, it’s more spectacular than …

Female Great Spotted Woodpecker - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Eyelids like seat belts

Woodpeckers and headaches. Wouldn’t you get a headache if you banged your head against a tree 12,000 times a day? Luckily for …