Pel’s Fishing Owl

The Pel’s Fishing Owl is a bird I didn’t expect to be seeing during my time in South Africa. They live in dense forest, like most owls they’re nocturnal, and they’re rare. This is perhaps the most sought after species among birders in sub-Saharan Africa. Their main prey is unsurprisingly fish, but one has even … Read more

British Reptiles

There are only six native species of reptile in the UK – three snakes (Adder, Grass Snake and Smooth Snake) and three lizards (Common Lizard, Sand Lizard and Slow-worm). It’s not many, but we are an island located at the northern edge of the range of reptiles. Given the small number, it’s relatively easy to … Read more

Cats

There are certain families of animal that I’ll always make an extra effort to see. As far as mammals are concerned, all of them hold my interest, but there are a few families in particular that interest me, and cats is most definitely one of them. My first sighting of a wild species of cat … Read more

Blue Whale

The Blue Whale is the sort of creature that captures the imagination of every child. I remember having a book when I was young that illustrated the size of a Blue Whale with a diagram of ascending larger things… man, horse, elephant, bus, aeroplane… then a behemoth of a whale – a shape that didn’t … Read more

Pennant-winged Nightjar

I already have an ‘on the trail of…’ page dedicated to nightjars and their allies, so it would have made sense to include this as an addendum to that page. The Pennant-winged Nightjar, however, deserves a page of its own. If the nightjars and their allies are the best birds in the world (and they … Read more

African Wild Dog

There were many different species that I planned to see in South Africa. Seeing some of them was virtually a certainty without even trying. Some required a bit of research, and one in particular required determination and a lot of optimism. Some just couldn’t be planned for and required sheer good fortune. There were certainly … Read more

Scottish Wildcat

The Scottish Wildcat is clinging on to existence. Current estimates vary but suggest there are as few as 35-400 pure individuals left, making it quite possibly the rarest mammal on the planet. Like many other species, they are prone to many threats such as persecution and habitat loss, but by far the biggest threat today … Read more

Nightjars & their allies

The concept of having a ‘favourite bird’ is a strange one, but if pushed, I would have to say that the Nightjar, or any number of its allies around the world, is mine. We only have the one species of Nightjar in Britain (European Nightjar) but I’ve been lucky enough to see various species of … Read more

Wild Boar

Wild Boar were once widespread throughout the country, but became extinct in the wild some time during the 13th century. Hunting was responsible for their eventual demise. In more recent years, Wild Boar were increasingly imported from European stock to be farmed under license. It is these boar that are the ancestors of the wild … Read more

Basking Shark

During a trip to the west coast of Scotland and its islands, I planned to try to see Basking Sharks. After the Whale Shark, the Basking Shark is the world’s second largest fish. Colossal but gentle giants that grace our western shores in the warmer months. From May, they can be see around the southern … Read more

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