For centuries, the white stork has been a powerful symbol of peace for the people of Ukraine. Its arrival from Africa this northern spring gives new meaning to the notion that it can shield families from evil spirits, writes Don Knowler Ukrainians looking to the skies for Russian war planes and missiles have instead seen the country’s emotive symbol of peace – the white stork. The storks migrate to Africa each year and this northern spring have arrived back at a time … [Read more...] about Bird of peace defies Putin’s horror
New Nature Writing
I strayed from the path of traditional, or pastoral, nature writing years ago when I discovered not only urban landscapes rich in wildlife, but anthropomorphism, irony, and bottles of red wine and bourbon with birds on their labels. As a young reporter, I had been impressed by the New Journalism of the 1960s which took reporting into the realm of the novel and short-story and a few decades on I found what were termed New Nature Writers breaking with tradition and exploring similar territory.
Although I still treasure the book that was my introduction to words about nature, Gilbert White’s The Natural History of Selbourne published in 1788, I now find inspiration in one of the new journalists, Hunter S Thompson. Thompson might not have written of nature as such but his words “I write with rage and ink” have an irresistible resonance that carries far beyond the suburbs to the wooded hills of the horizon.
A late-summer setting sun gives the grass a silky sheen at the Waterworks Reserve in Hobart. Insects that during the height of the day, the height of the sun, would be invisible, suddenly assume a shape within their own shadow, even if they are mere dots dancing on a gentle breeze. Swallows chase them, the welcome swallows presenting a larger shape, larger than life, etched against the golden sun sinking to the west. The insects move swiftly, if jerkily. They are no match … [Read more...] about Where humankind and nature’s worlds meet
Birdland is a magical place where it’s possible to escape all the pressures and stresses of the environment of the city created and inhabited by one species – humans – and immerse yourself in a less one-dimensional world. Birdland is nowhere in particular, and does not have to be special or noteworthy. It could be in the wildest of wild forest, or in suburbia. It could be a pristine beach, a few hectares of eucalypt woodland, or a neatly manicured city park. It could be a … [Read more...] about Passport to birdland
The Tasmanian tiger was still roaming the Tasmanian grasslands and the swift parrot flew in its thousands when Mercury writer Michael Sharland put pen to paper 100 years ago to start what has become one of the longest-running nature columns in the world. The motivation for the column had two aims – to draw attention to wildlife’s wonders and to highlight threats facing our fauna and flora. “These nature notes are introduced with the object of arousing an interest in, and … [Read more...] about Peregrine’s spirit still soars
THE Cinderellas of the bird world - the migratory shorebirds that usually hide from view in inaccessible and sometimes remote wetlands - are vanishing at an unprecedented rate from the state's shores. Two of the species known for their remarkable transcontinental journeys each year from Tasmania to the far northern hemisphere have now been declared "extirpated" in Tasmania and others have seen populations reduced by up to 90 per cent in recent years. The waders have … [Read more...] about Shorebird emergency hits Tasmania