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

Oenanthe oenanthe

The Northern Wheatear’s scientific name is Oenanthe oenanthe. It means ‘Flower of the Vine’ in Ancient Greek. Its binomial name is a …

Cuckoo on Dartmoor - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Cuckoo!

We’ve off to see the Cuckoos, the wonderful Cuckoos of Dartmoor. We’re not following the yellow-brick road, but we are driving at …

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

Fixed with a piercing stare

I’m watching a Long-Tailed Bushtit’s nest from 20 metres away when I notice a Buzzard heading straight towards me. Those eyes are …

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

Coal Tit at home

I’m in Somerset in Swell Wood. There’s a Coal Tit checking out the nesting possibilities of a natural tree hole. It’s a …

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

Hatching a plan

Here’s an unusual photograph for you. It’s a Nuthatch the right way up.

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

Nest building

My favourite Pied Flycatcher has been successful in defending his chosen nest box and attracting a female. Well done, my young chap. …

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

Dinner

I’m staring up at woodpeckers in a tree when I’m aware a large bird has landed nearby. It’s too close for my …

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

The Pied Flycatchers return

Connecting yourself to the cycles of the seasons is a wonderful way of feeling more a part of the natural world and …

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

Somerset Bluebells

An evening walk in Somerset leads us to a woodland we’ve never visited before. It’s pungent with Bear’s Garlic and rippling with …

Great Crested Grebe - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

The weed dance

Okay, so it’s sticks and not weed, but I didn’t give the weed dance its name. Here’s my favourite pair of Great …

Great Crested Grebe - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Care to dance?

I’ve had a couple of trips to Chard Reservoir in Somerset recently and have been delighted to see Great Crested Grebes doing …

Giant Clam - Venice - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Pigafetta and the Giant Clam

Antonio Pigafetta was an Italian scholar and explorer. He joined the expedition to find a western route to the Spice Islands in …

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

Octacles

Why are they called tentacles when there are eight of them? Surely they ought to be called octacles? A fascinating exhibit from …

Two Heads - Venice - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

The Two-Headed Calf

A trip to any natural history museum is always a thrill to me. I loved the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History …

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

Rettile ittiosauro

There’s an Ichthyosaur fossil displayed at the Museo di Storia Naturale di Venezia. They evolved around 250 million years ago and some survived …

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

Gusci di molluschi

I was immediately drawn to this arrangement of fossil shells in the Museo di Storia Naturale di Venezia. Glorious, isn’t it? I …

Piazza San Marco - Venice - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

It’s a carefully laid trap

Each of these seats is a carefully laid trap. It’s a system which has evolved to take €18 off each tourist who …

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

Tentacles

As a child I never understood why people said an octopus had tentacles. Surely they’re octacles? An octopus’s tentacles are multi-function. Just …

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

Trilobite con pista

‘Trilobite con pista’, it says. No, it’s not an item on the Italian menu in the restaurant at lunch time, but the …

Peter Tatchell - tranimals

Gay Times introduces: Tranimals!

You may know Peter Tatchell best for his views on reducing the age of consent and on sexual relationships with children. He’s …

Scala Contarini del Bovolo - Venice - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Scala Contarini del Bovolo

Six floors, eighty steps, 28 metres and €9. That’s the spiral staircase named after snails, ‘del Bovolo’, in Venice. The Palazzo was …

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

The gondoliers

Gondoliers in Venice appear to earn a top salary of €100,000. For that I’d expect some adherence to uniform standards. We saw …

Fossil ferns and horsetails - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Fossil ferns and horsetails

I’m astonished every time I see detail in fossils. Their age, the heat and the pressure they have been subjected to, and …

Venice trophy room - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

The trophy room

A visit to the natural history museum in Venice can be a bit of a shock for those unprepared for a full-on …

Venice Bridge of Sighs - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Bridge of Sightseers

A tale of two bridges. One is the Ponte dei Sospiri, the Bridge of Sighs, built in 1600. It’s the bridge between …

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

Pink lamps

It’s a foggy early morning in Venezia and the low cloud gives an eerie feel to the place as we wander around …

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

Chimera

A trip to Venice isn’t complete without at least two hours visiting the Museo de la historia naturale. As well as dinosaur …