Among the unexpected joys of this blog has been that friends around the world have been writing more frequently to share their thoughts on the wildlife they too are seeing. Last night I heard news from three thoughtful friends: of noisy whooper swans and cranes driven by the snow to a quiet corner of North Norfolk; of a wintering green sandpiper and fox tracks in the snow in the Midlands; and of dovekies, thick-billed murres, long-finned pilot-whales and wholly imaginary cusimanses from a research ship off the east coast of the United States.
Our fascination for wildlife has this power, to weave together our human stories and make lives immeasurably richer. With this in mind, I am off tomorrow to lead a series of wildlife-watching holidays in India and Sri Lanka for Naturetrek. Here I hope to see many more kingfishers, like ours and of other species, and no snow. If I see a smew it will be a mega-lifer for my Indian colleagues; in December 2010 I found the same group of friends their first goldeneye so our wingtips are crossed now for a smew. While in South Asia I shall attempt to write every day of what I see, but I fear it may often not be possible to post here for a few days at a time. Have patience.
To anyone joining this blog since it began in December, welcome! I have set myself a challenge in 2012 to record all of the vertebrate species I see on my travels around this beautiful planet. I am not by nature a lister but I have chosen this list as a means to make myself reflect in words on the wildlife which has for decades lightened every day of my life. The rules of my challenge are simple and may be found here.
People have been kind enough to ask me to post photos from my trips. I am afraid this is unlikely, unless colleagues and clients supply them, as I am a lifelong non-photographer. Until very recently I had never as an adult owned a camera. Then, for a trip to
Wildlife and cute dysfunction: that’s me in a nutshell.
The hills opened out, disclosing the level tree-scattered eternity of
The Road to Oxiana