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Nature Notebooks

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

Temples and Lounging Lizards

I’m wandering around Tivoli with my camera. I’m in the Parco Villa Gregoriana. I expected there to be a fine house called …

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

Ol’ Blue Eyes is back

I love the street cats of Italy, despite the number of wild birds they kill. Today I have a day off in …

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

For every place, a palette

Every place on Earth has its own palette. Some are collections of complimentary colours; others have contrast. Some are simple; others are …

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

A Grayling

I’m trying to have a relaxed breakfast but there’s too much to see. I want my Italian coffee and croissant but I …

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

Praying for a Mantis

We are walking in Abruzzo in Italy at a height of 1,500 metres above sea level. It’s invigorating: Amongst the grass are …

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

A Cornish Chough in Italy

We’re spending a few days walking in Italy. We’re in Rocca Calascio, part of the Parco Nazionale del Gran Sasso. That means …

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

Joined by Reynard for breakfast

It’s time for breakfast in Italy which means more delicious food and breathtaking views are on the way. Sitting outside in October …

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

Domestic

Puffins live so close together that there are frequent small territorial acknowledgements and disputes. They also pair for life so there are …

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

House proud

This Puffin was sitting outside its burrow in the soil at the top of the cliff last summer. Its mate was inside …

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

Puffin portraits

Puffins have a wide variety of poses which humans find appealing. We can easily imagine them as having human characteristics, or anthropomorphise …

Risso's Dolphin - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

When language is lacking

I’m on the deck of the Northlink ferry from mainland Scotland to Mainland Orkney when I see a black fin in the …

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

Fungus upon fungus

As soon as you begin to look at the natural world there are never-ending chains of relationships between living organisms. The classic …

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

Mr Punch

It’s Mr Punch on the rocks on Westray.

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

The magic of a Merlin

At the very north of Westray the coast is exposed. In the far distance I can see a falcon. It’s so far …

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

Twite

There are small brown birds on the lichen-covered rocks on the coast of Westray. It takes me a while to identify them. …

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

Redshanks

Redshanks must be one of the most annoying birds for British birdwatchers. They are beautiful, active, entertaining to watch and have great …

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

Puffins on the rocks

It’s good to enjoy the Puffins while we can. They are critically endangered. They are ‘red listed’ which means they are at …

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

The Fulmar Triathlon

Fulmars are one of my favourite birds. All animals have some sort of compromise in their bodies because of the range of …

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

Sea Rocket

Sea Rocket covers the top of many beaches on Westray. Cakile maritima has either white or a pinky-lilac shade of flowers. Here’s …

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

Sand Martins

The Sand Martins are teetering on the edge of leaving Westray now. Their chicks must be fully grown and there are only …

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

Gertrude Tanglewing

It’s been a very blustery day, it’s nearly dark and I’m just settling down for the evening when there’s an urgent message …

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

Tangled roots

Grass looks so unremarkable and is so ever-present in Orkney that it takes something special to shock me into considering it from …

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

Greylag Geese

Greylag Geese are all over Westray at the moment because the farmers have created the perfect habitat for them: acres and acres of fresh green grass. It must be like waking up and seeing delicious breakfast as far as your eyes can see.

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

I’m Shy!

The critically endangered Atlantic Puffin, Fratercula arctica. Climate change leading to lack of Sand Eels and marine pollution are the likely causes …