The banner image above my friend Szabi’s wonderful painting of one of the last slender-billed curlews ever seen – a species now believed to be extinct. I trace the story in my new book Abundance; Nature in Recovery in an essay on bird rescue in Hungary. Click here to see more of Szbabi’s fabulous paintings of wildlife. Meanwhile, the European curlew is sliding dangerously towards the same fate due to pressures from intensive agriculture, a rise in numbers of predators and the loss of critical mass leaving adult birds unable to defend their nests. Here’s a link to England’s pioneering lowland curlew recovery project who I’ve had the great fortune to spend time and work with – getting to know a little about curlew ecology. Also here’s a link to the new national Curlew Recovery Project – – let’s hope we’re in time to save this incredible bird. Once we can get out on the land again there are exciting new initiatives coming – working alongside Cumbrian farmers to restore curlews to our lovely hills and valleys.
Ashley Cooper is a renowned climate photographer and friend based in the English Lake District. Click here to visit his website and find informattion about his important book, Images from a Warming Planet.You can purchase the book here
Heres my review of Ann Lingard’s book on life on the Solway;
Here are some links to my Guardian Country Diary entries – you’ll find the rest listed on the Guardian website.
I was fortunate to recieve this small pamphlet in which poet John Fox reconnoitres life on the cancer ward in Furness General Hospitalin in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, January 2021. Charting recovery, the gallows humour of fellow patients and life continuing outside the windows, here are gulls and weather, or Breughel amidst a snowfall on Barrow’s nuclear submarine sheds. The poems are deeply affecting and humanising, each one a small gesture of care and hope amongst the drip tubes and masks. The writing has grit – lots of grit – and love, written by a poet at home in language and metaphor.
The Rain Days is available from www.deadgoodguides.co.uk or
The Beach House, Swinestead Lane, Baycliff, Cumbria LA12 9RY
The book is £5 pus P&P.