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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 …

Female Goosander - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey

A wild Goosander chase

As I walk down the canal I see a duck with a vicious saw-toothed beak and a brown head. It must be …

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 …

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

Mute Swan

Here’s a drawing of a Mute Swan I did forty years ago. And here’s a photograph of a Mute Swan I took …

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

Leap-frogging Blackcaps

There’s a Blackcap in the tree. I can hear its alarm call and then I see it; it’s a female. It looks …

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

Vernon’s Half-Mourner

I’m in the far south of Italy, in the heel of the boot that makes the Country so much more recognisable than …

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

Duck Face

If you have a tendency to see animals as humans with distorted features you’re going to have a freakily nightmarish time when …

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

Rock ledges

The sedimentary rock on Westray breaks into hundreds of ledges where the layers of time wear them away.

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

Robbing Robin

This Robin is screaming a song of dominance and intimidation, proclaiming its territory and its swaggering intention to repel any strangers daring …

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

Columba palumbus

There’s a bloated Common Wood Pigeon Columba palumbus nearby. I can hear it cooing. Then I see it and it sees me. …

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

Peacock Butterfly

I find it impossible to tell what species most butterflies are until they stop somewhere and stay still for a few seconds. …

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

A new body on old legs

Blue Tits are such bright and youthful-looking birds they are a constant delight to see. Even the adults look as appealing as …

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

Great Spotted Woodpecker

The woodland walk barriers seem to mock me as I walk up the ramp. There are carvings of birds all along the …

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

“My boyfriend is hotter than me”

Female Mandarin Ducks are stunningly beautiful birds. Yet, because their plumage is so subtle, their crest so sleek and their male counterparts …

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

Brimstone without the Treacle

It’s still only March and yet there are butterflies in this woodland glade. I can see they are an unnerving sulphur yellow …

Great White Egret - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Great White Egret

The Italians call Great White Egrets L’airone bianco maggiore. This sign tells us what we should be looking for: a large heron …

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

Chiff Chaff

Chiff Chaffs are difficult to see. They are small, they are camouflaged, and they move so quickly that just when you see …

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

Martin the fisherman

I’m in Italy on the trail of some interesting birds. The signs are good, literally, as there’s a big three-dimensional sign with …