Latest articles from Tony Drakeford

A whitethroat

Nature Notes: I miss the call of the cuckoo

IN these troubled times it is somewhat reassuring to know that at least the natural world appears to be functioning relatively normally. With spring in full swing, birdsong is increasing in volume and it is now time for our summer visiting birds to begin to arrive.

The grebe version of giving flowers...

Nature Notes: a close call for grebes

IN the avian world, one of the most elaborate courtship displays is performed by a pair of great crested grebes. At this time of year these elegant birds can be seen indulging in these displays along the river Thames and on any reasonably large lakes.

The patient heron

Nature Notes: Creatures of habit

RATHER like us, the heron is very much a creature of habit, having two or three favoured fishing spots which he faithfully adheres to.

A black-headed gull

Nature Notes: Storm kept birds quiet

COURTESY of a wayward jetstream, on February 18, Storm Eunice roared in from the Atlantic and proved to be the most damaging and disruptive for more than thirty years. In fact, we endured three damaging named storms in just a week. Rather like buses, we wait for ages then three come along at once!

A redwing, from Scandinavia

Melody or cacophony?

VERY late during a blustery afternoon on February 8, I heard my first song thrush of the year, perched at the summit of a lofty oak. He was not yet in full voice, just warming up so early in the year but it was so good to hear him.

It's rare to see a red admiral alighting on a snowdrop

What will February's weather bring?

JANUARY was unusually dry, so will February live up to its old reputation whereby farmers used to call the second month 'February-fill-dyke' alluding to the fact that the month was often very wet.

Robins are making quite an impression in my garden

A noisy time of year

IN A recent nature notes, I expressed surprise at seeing a raven flying over my house in the direction of Wimbledon common on December 12. Since then, a pair of ravens has been spotted over Putney Heath.

A pair of swans sail in to join the throng

Feeding the water birds

A DULL, dreary winter's day. Not a breath of wind ruffles the surface of the sluggish Thames, shining like black treacle. An icy chill seeps into every corner and crevice. Contrasting sharply with the dark water, gulls loaf, hunched up, their plump white forms reminiscent of a plateful of sugary meringues.