“The Slender-billed curlew, Numenius tenuirostris, ‘the slim beak of the new moon’, is the world’s rarest birds.
It once bred in Siberia and wintered in the Mediterranean basin, passing through the wetlands and estuaries of Italy, Greece, the Balkans and Central Asia. Today, the Slender-billed curlew only exists as a rumour, a ghost species surrounded by unconfirmed sightings and speculation. The only certainty is that it now stands on the edge of extinction.
Birds are key environmental indicators. Their health or hardship has a message for us about the planet, and our future. What does the fate of the Slender-billed curlew mean for us and the natural world? What happened to it, and why?
Orison for a Curlew journeys through a fractured Europe in search of the Slender-billed curlew, following the bird’s migratory path on an odyssey that takes us into the lives of the men and women who have fought to save the landscapes to which the bird belongs.
This is a story of beauty, triumph and the struggles of conservation. It is a homage to a creature that may never be seen again.”
–Little Toller Books
Here is a review of it by the Independent.
Orison for a Curlew can be bought at Little Toller Books and Waterstones.
The seventh annual symposium for New Networks For Nature took place in Stamford Arts Centre on 12th–14th November 2015.
It included talks by Ruth Padel and Germain Greer, a debate with Tony Juniper and George Monbiot, a film by John Aitchison and the Concrete Nature exhibition featuring artwork by Nik Pollard, Carry Akroyd, Dafila Scott, Elle Salt, Shelley Perkins, Kittie Jones, Richard Jarvis, Richard Allen, Matt Underwood, John and Jane Paige, Harriet Mead, Jo Ruth, Adele Pound, Lucy Stevens, Kate Foster, Esther Tyson, and Beatrice Forshall.
Smoke kills lichen. That is what happened in large areas of Britain during the 19th century due to rapid industrialisation. The light coloured lichens disappeared as the tree trunks were blackened by soot. Pale coloured moths which had been well camouflaged when they rested on tree trunks became very conspicuous and were eaten by birds. Rare dark moths, which had been conspicuous before, were now well camouflaged in the black background. As birds switched from eating mainly dark moths to mainly pale moths, the most common moth colour changed from pale to dark. The moths had evolved. The Peppered moth is one of the best examples of evolution by natural selection and is often referred to as ‘Darwin’s Moth’.
Having adapted so well to survive the earlier damages of industrialisation, this species is now declining overall. Between 1968 and 2002 numbers of the Peppered Moth in Britain fell by almost two thirds, although the causes are as yet unknown.
Peppered moth, Moorhen and Battersea Peregrine
Call Of The Cuckoo
Spring exhibition at Potterton Books London,
93 Lower Sloane Street,
12th May-30th June 2015
In support of the charity Buglife
‘What would it mean to us if the Spring bringers stopped arriving?
If the great eternal migration machine started to go wrong, if trouble, serious trouble, got into the works, and the birds that for all our time as humans have come on their great journeys and announced that the winter is past, and the rain is over and gone, came no longer?
How much would it matter to us? How would we measure it, as a loss? It would not be immediately catastrophic, as the loss of bees would be catastrophic (for then much pollination would stop and swathes of agriculture would collapse). Life would go on. But what would it mean to our souls?
What strange exercise could we compare it to?
Would it be like the loss of rainbows?
Would it be like the loss of roses?
Would it be like the loss of rivers, of running water?
Would it be greater than that? Would it be like the loss of music?
Would it be like the loss of hope?
We ought to start working it out pretty soon, for the process has already begun.’
Michael McCarthy, ‘Say Goodbye to the Cuckoo‘
New joint exhibition in the garden gallery at Hybrid, Evi Antonio and Bea Forshall.
14th March – 11th April
51 High Street, Honiton, Devon, EX14 1PW
I recently designed the cover of the new EP by the very talented Cosmo Sheldrake.
You can listen to the radio edit for his new single ‘Rich’ here
and pre-order the CD/12″ Vinyl (+ download code) – http://goo.gl/9YTA1U
iTunes – http://geni.us/1AKL
Winter 2014 exhibition at Potterton Books with Angela Harding, Alice Pattullo, Gail Brodholt, Paul Catherall and Beatrice Forshall
93 Lower Sloane Street
26th November-24th December 2014
The Black-throated Diver, or Arctic Loon, breeds on the lakes of Europe and Asia and flies south to winter at sea off sheltered coasts. It is a streamlined swimmer and can fish at depths of up to six metres, but walks awkwardly on land.
The nest is built by both male and female and is usually made of a heap of plant matter, sometimes mixed with mud and will occasionally float.
The habitat of the Arctic loon is under threat due to the increased acidity of the oceans, pollution, and the bird is often caught in nets in its coastal wintering grounds, where there are large fishing industries. In Sweden some sanctuaries have been created and in Scotland artificial nests have had some success.
Blackbird, British Bumblebees: new cards and notebooks
The rest of the collection can be seen by going to http://beaforshallshop.bigcartel.com/
Bumblebees are great pollinators and an essential part of our ecosystem.
The increase use of agrochemicals has reduced the number of wildflowers as well as killing the bees themselves.
Two species, the native Short-haired and Cullem’s bumblebee, have become extinct in the Uk since the start of the 21st century and other species are in grave decline. You can go to http://www.bumblebeeconservation.org to see what you can do to help save our bees.
Buff-tailed bumblebee ,White-tailed bumblebee, Common carder bee,Early bumblebee, Garden bumblebee, Red-tailed bumblebee, Forest cuckoo bumblebee, Shrill carder bee,Brown-banded carder bee,Tree bumblebee.