Eagles and tigers

The short-toed eagles or short-toed snake eagles continue to be very noisy, circling low with outstretched wings and dangling feet and sometimes some talon grappling. From the wonderful but empty amphitheatre at Platsos, having avoided the barking sheepdogs, we watch a bird hunt the olive groves and maquis that run down to the coast. TheContinue reading “Eagles and tigers”

Beachcombers and fish hawkers

The beach is wind blown under a grey sky. Usually it is empty, but the season brings an assortment of wheatears, little egrets, yellow wagtails and common sandpipers; all are foraging after a day of torrential rain. Two fishermen at the water’s edge sit, hunched like herons, over long rods. The harbour wall at AgiosContinue reading “Beachcombers and fish hawkers”

The Deep Mani

The drive from Areopolis south east over the hills runs past ancient Pyrrichos, where a small vineyard testifies to the altitude and climate and on to a crumbling castle on the end of a ridge at Loukadika; from here there is the first view of the shimmering sea and distant Cape Maleas. With the sunContinue reading “The Deep Mani”

A tale of two tails

Furnace Pond near Horsmonden was created by an old, dam with a high, cascading stone weir in the corner. The large pond provided a head of water to power an iron foundry in the days when the Weald was the centre of the industry. The stream below the weir is a short section of ghyll woodland; ghylls are relicContinue reading “A tale of two tails”

Whimbrels on the Alde Estuary

The north east wind drives in off the ugly, mud brown sea; Aldeburgh huddles on the coast. South from the town, a long gravel spit runs for miles to Orfordness and beyond. The track bumps past the sailing club, full of small craft but empty of people to the squat, Martello Tower about a mile fromContinue reading “Whimbrels on the Alde Estuary”

Bonaparte’s Gull at Oare Marshes

14th July 2016 Bonaparte’s Gull Chroicocephalus philadelphia, as its scientific name testifies, is a North American species, and as ubiquitous as the similar black-headed gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus is here in Western Europe. A single Bonaparte’s turns up at Oare Marshes, and immediately the record is run out as an alert online; rarity is prized by many and, like many stormblown ‘Yankees’, theContinue reading “Bonaparte’s Gull at Oare Marshes”