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Nature Notebooks

Swallowtail butterfly - Matera - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Swallowtails

It’s unmistakable: a Swallowtail Butterfly: It’s taken us ages to get this close. It’s hot and the butterfly is very active. Here …

Trichodes apiarius - Matera - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

The Bee-Eating Beetle

That’s bright! It’s got bright red and black striped warning colouration. It’s the Bee-Eating Beetle, Trichodes apiarius, named by Linnaeus in 1758. …

Broad-Bodied Chaser - Matera - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

No need to chase

There are Broad Bodied Chaser Dragonflies in the old city of Matera. There’s one amongst the plants on a rooftop: Changing my …

Amata moth - Matera - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Yellow belts

It’s the hour that the greyness comes, as the sun sets, shadows lengthen and a fading yellow band retreats below the horizon. …

Black Veined White - Matera - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Blue Blood and Black Veins

For a language with 180,000 words, the English language is seriously deficient when it comes to the natural world. Take the word …

Lesser Kestrel - Matera - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Grillaio in Matera

The Lesser Kestrel is such a disappointing English name for such a fantastic bird. The Italians call them Grillaio, after their main …

Lesser Emporer Dragonfly - Matera - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

The Lesser Emperor of Matera

We’re in Matera in the south of Italy. It’s one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities on Earth, with palaeolithic caves on …

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

Oblivious

The service has just ended and a solitary figure walks slowly, weeping, from the church in Matera in the south of Italy: …

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

Hound Tor sunset

I love Hound Tor on Dartmoor. I’m walking to the top from the car park. It’s not far: At the top I …

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

Tender moments

We are witnessing a tender moment at the lake: a Coot is feeding its only chick: It is picking morsels of food …

Male Mallard Duck - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Mr and Mrs Mallard

The sunshine is dazzling and so is this male Mallard: The subtlety of the camouflage of this female Mallard is equally as …

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

Snake on the Lake

We’re sat beside the lake at my local country park when I see an unmistakable shape just in front of us, next …

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

A spot of sunbathing

There’s a Nuthatch sounding off like a car alarm in the old Oak tree: It’s such beautiful weather I can see every …

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

Marsh Harriers

We are in Somerset. The name Somerset means Summer-land, because the land was originally only inhabitable in summer; in winter it was …

Nursery Web Spider - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Nursery Web Spider

I’d love to be wearing shorts in this heat but the likelihood of ticks and the healthy patches of stinging nettles mean …

A necklace of raindrops - The Hall of Einar

A necklace of raindrops

There’s meant to be great weather today but it’s foggy. There’s been a clear sky last night, the ground has cooled and …

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

Near and far, far and near

It’s wonderful sunshine and the cherry blossom is open. I’ve tried taking a close-up but need a bit more practise. I didn’t …

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

A lounging legless lizard

There’s something strange in the long grass between all the brown leaves in Bridford Wood by the banks of the River Teign …

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

Getting close

The photographer Robert Capa once said, “If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.” It’s something I always think when …

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

A Spruced-up Siskin

Siskins are wonderful birds. They are tiny finches, coloured yellow and green, and the brighter-coloured males have a distinctive black cap. Their …

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

Old red eyes is back

Coots have extraordinary eyes. The irises of this one are red: Sometimes, however, their irises are dark red or even brown. I’d …

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

Look! No hands!

In the wild, Grey Squirrels eat buds, bark and shoots as well as acorns, hazelnuts and fungi. Here’s one tucking into sweet …

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

518 Beech Drive

I’m trying to sell my house at the moment. It’s stressful constantly having visitors and having to keep the house clean and …

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

Witness for the Extinction

There’s a new report out on the State of the World’s Birds. It reports the science that 1 in 8 bird species …