Filed under natural history

Albatrosses Running in Circles

Albatrosses Running in Circles

Since albatrosses are in the same family as seagulls who stamp on the ground to imitate rain, which draws their favourite food, worms, to the surface, this article fits with their family behaviour. This is by Tom Bawden in the i paper: Albatrosses secure much of their food using an extraordinary technique which involves furiously … Continue reading

Cormorants

Cormorants

These are my favourite birds – maybe along with starlings, but they always seem to be alone, which is why this group of 6 seem so startling – all lined up on their concrete – what are they? podiums? Like dudes in tuxedoes, they don’t care who’s watching them posing. I love the different poses … Continue reading

An Unhappy Tenant

This is a wonderfully wry ad from a London paper dated October 1815: WANTED IMMEDIATELY to enable me to leave the house which I have for these last five years inhabited, in the same plight and condition in which I found it, 500 LIVE RATS for which I will gladly pay the sum of £5 … Continue reading

Belief, Gardening and Rituals

Belief, Gardening and Rituals

My father was raised a Catholic, but when the church supported conscription in World War II and he was forced to become a soldier, he turned against it, and for the rest of his life railed against all forms of organised religion. As a result I grew up with little understanding of faith beyond singing … Continue reading

Rhinoceros Survives Poachers

This is from last Friday’s i and shines a light on current conservation efforts in Africa: Staggering around when you’re woozy with sedatives must be particularly testing when you weigh two tonnes, like Hope. She is a five-yea-old rhinoceros in south Africa who has spent a year being treated by vets after going through a … Continue reading

Golan Heights Cowboys

This is an oddity from Saturday’s i paper: With his wide-brimmed hat, Wrangler jeans and ornate belt buckle, Yehiel Alon could easily pass for one of the Montana ranchers he once worked with. But the 53-year-old is an Israeli cowboy on the Golan Heights bordering war-torn Syria, where frontier-life takes on a whole new meaning. … Continue reading

Aristocracy and Hawking

Aristocracy and Hawking

One of he great Indy films of England last century was ‘A Kestrel for a Knave’, based on both animals and people having a fixed hierarchy. This is the full list, from Sports and Pastimes of the People of England: The eagle, the vulture, and the merlun, for an emperor The ger-faulcon, and the tercel … Continue reading

Extincting Wolves in England & Wales

This is from Sports and Pastimes of he People of England, published in 1801. My previous post listed a lot of animals of the hunt, but wolves were absent, apparently because they were already hunted to extinction. It is generally admitted that Edgar gave up the fine of gold and silver imposed by his uncle … Continue reading

Naming the Beasts of the Hunt

This is from Sports and Pastimes of he People of England, published in 1801. Twice or Twety, grand huntsman to Edward II divides animals to be hunted into 3 groups: The first class contains four, which may be properly called beasts for hunting; namely, the hare, the hart, the wolf, and the wild boar. The … Continue reading