Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve

The paths around the flooded gravel workings are amongst tall woodlands of alder Alnus glutinosa and willows Salix spp. The view of the largest lake travels across low bare islands of mud and stone. Here lapwings Vanellus vanellus tumble and chase, gulls idle and ringed plovers Charadrius hiaticula break cover and swings fast and low over…

Bough Beech at Dusk

The evening of Friday 6th May is warm, still and silent; a band of low cloud threatens to steal the light from the low sun but never manages to for very long.  The water across the long reservoir is blue smoked grass in front of a dark lines of waterside trees that look like an ink…

Bough Beech in Late April

Bough Beech reservoir sits beneath the woodland that cloaks the North Downs. In late April, the long expanse of bright water is hardly stirred by a cold breeze. The south end of the reservoir is given over to sailing and the flotilla of dinghies, lit brilliant white in the sun, runs back and forth.  The northern end is…

Oare and Conyer

The arctic winds across the marshes at Oare are killing and unkind, bending heads towards the frozen earth; but the Sunday morning promises a warming sun but only after a heathen slab of grey cloud has inched slowly away to the east. The high tide is falling and a dense flock of black-tailed godwits takes off from their island roost,…

Oare Marshes

The open door of the Castle Inn in the small village of Oare looks inviting, but we opt for the walk along the edge of the narrow, boat-crowded creek. We nod to weather-lined men in blue, barrelled overalls tinkering with their ladies of all shapes and sizes. We pass fields empty but for a handful of cows…

Vranjina’s Pelicans

We came back the other evening down the main road from Podgorica to Virpazar across Lake Skadar.  Just before the small fishing village of Vranjina, there is a section of open water fringed by spring green willows that over the past two weeks has had a pair, sometimes three, Dalmatian pelicans.  These have always been loitering…

Ulcinj Solanas

The old town of Ulcinj with its fort above a small, deeply incised bay can trace its history back to the Illyrian times. Yesterday, on a warm Spring evening the smart cafes and restaurants were full, the promenade busy and the air was welcoming and civilised. Earlier that morning, a few kilometres out of town, I…

Tivat Saltpans

Tivat Saltpans (Tivatska Solilas) is an area of intertidal habitats and former saltpans within the Bay of Kotor protected in 2008 as a 150 ha. natural heritage site.  In the language of protected areas, ‘potentially damaging operations’ are not permitted. In a country where hunting and fishing is so prevalent, this is great news for the…

Velika Plaza and Ada Bojana

At the south-eastern corner of Montenegro, the boundary with Albania is the river Bojana.  The river delta is at the eastern end of the 13km long Velika Plaza (Great Beach) that runs all the way from the old town of Ulcinj.  The large river splits neatly in two a few kilometres from the sea and the…