WREN

The leaves are mostly all fallen now and the garden’s trees are looking bare and spindly. The freshly denuded branches allow for better views of the birds. In their flocks we mainly see sparrows, chaffinches and starlings; in pairs song thrushes and blackbirds. But the robin and the wren are always on their own.  It is the wren to which I am most drawn. A tiny brown ball, it spryly flits about the branches and…

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JENNY HANIVER

April 2016. A chill spring walk on the beach at Balnakiel Bay up at Durness rooted out deep old memories from me. It was cold enough for the pale white sand to feel like snow underfoot, and the wind was singing across broad space. It is an open and inviting place even in these conditions, but there are still quiet corners for concealment among the marram grass dunes.  We searched for who-knows-what in those small…

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LIGHT AND WATER

Driving a bus on one of Britain’s most scenic routes affords me a great opportunity to see how the landscape is changed by the weather. I am privileged to see the earth’s mood swinging from peace to fury, always in balance. The land looks different every day.  Some mornings there is a moody greyness and an opaque shroud of mist hangs over the distances. This invokes within me a sense of claustrophobic intimacy. Sound does…

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THE ROOKS OF ULLAPOOL

The black bully birds gather like leaves in the autumnal gusts in which they delight. They are clumsier than ravens as they land in gangs to pick around the overflow of the bins in Ullapool car park. The hooded crow, so numerous in the North West, is kept at the town borders, relegated to the moors. The black backed and herring gulls, despite being the usual aggressors, keep their distance from the car park. The…

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