Read more about the article SUMMERS OF FIRE, AND CHAOS IN THE U.K. PART 2.
1976. HEATHLAND & FOREST FIRE. WEST N.F.

SUMMERS OF FIRE, AND CHAOS IN THE U.K. PART 2.

Britain has become rather different from the way it was when I left 20 years ago. It was decided recently, that Boris Johnson, the British Prime Minister, would have to go because some considered him to have had a tenuous relationship with the truth -- he could no longer be taken seriously. A handful of people (members of the Conservative Party and less than 1% of the British population) were given the pleasure of electing a new leader. In the end this came down to a choice between two individuals, and neither appeared much interested in the current environmental problems. Liz…

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Read more about the article SUMMERS OF FIRE, AND CHAOS IN THE U.K.. PART 1.
1976. HEATHLAND & FOREST FIRE. WEST N.F.

SUMMERS OF FIRE, AND CHAOS IN THE U.K.. PART 1.

The day I started writing, the Queen died quite suddenly, but I don't think it was my fault. Two days before the sad event, Liz Truss visited the Queen to form a new government, and nobody is pointing the finger at her... at least, not for that. Life is full of coincidences: the day Davie Bowie died I found a white Lego figure washed up on the beach, it reminded me of Bowie's persona 'The Thin White Duke', but I'm old enough to remember the character dressed mostly in black, otherwise I might have spun a spooky yarn. Odd things happen...…

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Read more about the article Monsters From the Deep — Sometimes It’s Personal.
1987. ATLANTIC REALM 3. DISCOVERY. ATLANTICE DEEP SEA FISH. JUNE/JULY.

Monsters From the Deep — Sometimes It’s Personal.

So, I got this phone call -- it was a while ago now, but I don't mind looking back if things are interesting. The spider I was filming at the time certainly wasn't... Spiders don't do anything on demand and by comparison the telephone conversation seemed promising. It was from BBC Natural History Unit producer Roger Jones offering me the boat trip of a lifetime on his three part series 'Atlantic Realm' -- he was just so enthusiastic... but then he didn't have to go. It was a research vessel... I imagined a rusty old ship; I'd be the odd fish…

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PHOTOGRAPHING BIRDS OF PREY ON A BUDGET.

The coastline of the Lower Mainland of British Columbia is a great place to watch birds -- particularly ducks, geese and waders. As winter approaches, large numbers migrate through the region on their way south to warmer climes -- and who can blame them? The hardiest find the many beaches and inlets of the region mild enough to overwinter, and unless temperatures drop to extremes they appear disinclined to expend their energy by moving further south, . In spring the birds will fly in the opposite direction, returning to their summer breeding grounds, and in doing so will cover enormous distances.…

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Dragonflies: 300 million Years of Success… and Still Going Strong.

Smooth newts during springtime lived in a tank in my bedroom. When I was young, just like many other children, I was obsessed with dinosaurs... but there were other creatures that seemed more real to me, probably because they were still around... and also living in the same house. Other children kept guinea pigs and hamsters, but my preference was for the cold blooded killers -- mostly reptiles and amphibians, and then there were the spiders... I really liked spiders. A friendly neighbour told my mother that it was a phase I was going through and I'd get over it... but…

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Denaturing: The Fast-Track to Economic Growth… and the Snow Geese Bucking the Trend.

When I first moved to the Lower Mainland of British Colombia I wondered what Canadians did for a living; as a child brought up in Britain, I was led to believe that what they mostly did was chop down trees. I remember Monty Python singing a song about it: 'lumberjacks' apparently were O.K. -- but as the verses progressed a different story emerged -- all nonsense for comic effect, but even in the real world things aren't always what they seem and mostly not quite so funny. There are very few trees like this on the Lower Mainland. A couple of…

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Owls — Not Quite as Clever as We Think.

You know how it is, you're having a perfectly normal conversation with somebody you think you know, and suddenly they say, 'That's just not like me, I'm a Capricorn', and you're thinking, 'I hadn't realised you were as daft as a brush'... The great thing about owls is they aren't like that -- millions of years of evolution have honed them into ultra-efficient killing machines and none will make a judgement based on your star signs. Probably what they're thinking when looking at you is, 'I'm sure that thing's too big to eat; but I'll keep watching in case it's dangerous?'…

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Some Days I Just Can’t Tell my Ground Squirrel from my Marmot.

Pre-covid, but not so long ago, Jen and I took a trip to Manning Park in British Columbia intending to visit upland meadows in full flower; but you know how it is with the natural world -- get your timing out by a week one way or the other, and you're either too early and there's nothing to see, or you're too late and everything's gone to seed. It's a bit like life  really -- there are plenty of opportunities to miss. Living on the coast as we do, the time schedule for many natural events runs seasonally ahead of events further…

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Forest Dump.

For many years I travelled to interesting places to film wildlife, and would usually pointed my camera in the direction that would achieve the most agreeable results, because if I turned in the opposite direction it was often impossible to hide the impact of human activity: sometimes there would be plastic flapping in the wind on a barbed-wire fence; or a forest with its under-storey eaten bare by livestock, perhaps even a forest being felled. My job it seemed was to give a positive spin to the way the natural world looked, even when things weren't quite right. Turn the other…

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