Author Archives: Amanda Tuke

Will they ever learn?

Three parakeets eating crab apples. Peck, spit, peck, spit. Maybe this bit will be nicer? Or this bit? Or even this bit? Or perhaps this one? Or that one? Or the one over there? Now look you lot. They’re sour goddammit. They’re always going to be sour. GIVE. IT. UP.

The thirty-minute birder – fourth article in the series for Bird Watching Magazine

I’m having such a lovely time writing these articles for the wonderful Bird Watching Magazine. And it’s a great excuse to chat to some really interesting people. This one features Dr Jonathan Reeves (Wildfowl and Wetland Trust, Chantelle Lindsay (London Wildlife Trust) and Cindy Howells, a birder and geologist I met up with in Cardiff. […]

Suburban High Noon (#ThumbnailNature)

Suburban high noon. Grass alleyway between garden fences. At one end, a fox. At the other, two crows forage all casual-like, their nest in a sycamore overhead.  Fox inches forward. Stops. Starts. Watched every step. Nah, not worth it mate. He turns and lopes away. I breathe out gently.

11th August 2021 – Gipsywort instead of Yellow-legged gulls on Rainham Marshes

I went in search of Yellow-legged Gulls and left instead with a photo of the purple-pencilled flowers of Gipsywort, which I found growing alongside the boardwalk. Finally nailed a Willow Warbler with confidence, so progress on my birdsong and call journey. Oh and there was a good showing of by a Marsh Harrier too.

10th August 2021 – a therapeutic find on Bramley Bank, Croydon

Having finally emerged from the dark hole of coronavirus, I dragged myself out to the little patch of acid grassland on Bramley Bank. I didn’t have much energy for serious botanising so was even more delighted to find a patch of tiny Birdsfoot (Ornithopus perpusillus). BSBI atlas records suggest it hasn’t been recorded here in […]

The thirty-minute birder – third article in series for Bird watching magazine

This was another reminder how incredibly lucky I am to write about nature for a living and get to talk to birding people like Lev Parikian, Ruth Miller and Dave Clark. Burgess Park is an absolute jewel – so good when my home borough, Southwark, gets it right. And always wowed by the page designs […]

26th July 2021 – Love a crow

Crows nest in the wood opposite our house but this year a pair choose one of the oak trees in our communal garden. From our back bedroom window I can see them building their nest as the leaves aren’t properly out. That nest soon disappears into the green. There’s not much evidence of them, or […]

19th July 2021 – gorging on the birdiest of all birds

A male Kingfisher is sitting on a fence post, preening in the early morning sun, until something in the water below catches his attention. After bobbing his head a couple of times, he slices through the lake surface and emerges with a silvery prize. A squadron of Swifts skim across the water’s surface, calculating their […]

12th July 2021 – It’s sooo sticky…

I’m just back from a week in Wales and the excitement of seeing unfamiliar plants was almost too much to bear. On a pavement plant walk around the fishing town of New Quay (no, not that one!), I found this Rock Sea-spurrey with gorgeous pink flowers and unbelievable sticky glandular hairs which meant the whole […]

29th June 2021 – “Tree Wheat” in Cardiff

I have time for a couple of hours of pavement plant hunting before I catch my train back from Cardiff to Paddington. Common Limes line the west side of the Taff Embankment and many of them have a mini-ecosystem of lichens, mosses, ferns and other plants thriving on the river-facing side of the main trunk. […]