THE BLACK­BIRD DIARIES: A YEAR WITH WILDLIFE

Countryfile Magazine - - Lazy Days - Me­gan Shersby, BBC Wildlife

KAREN LLOYD SARABAND, £12.99

Fol­low­ing on from her highly suc­cess­ful de­but (The Gath­er­ing Tide: A Jour­ney Around the Edge­lands of More­cambe Bay was the win­ner of a Lake­land Award in 2016), Karen Lloyd’s sec­ond book is sure to also de­light read­ers and fans of Bri­tish wildlife.

In The Black­bird Diaries: A Year with Wildlife, we are in­vited to the in­spir­ing land­scapes of South Lake­land. As can be guessed from the ti­tle, Lloyd fo­cusses on the wildlife of her gar­den – specif­i­cally the charm­ing black­bird pair that nest in the clema­tis grow­ing over a wooden arch­way.

There are at­tempts to be­friend the birds, with tempt­ing treats of seeds and dried fruit, but for the most part, Lloyd and her fam­ily are con­tent to watch and ob­serve the two adults, who are joined later in the year by young fledglings hop­ping around the gar­den. Other avian vis­i­tors to the gar­den in­clude bounc­ing goldfinches, daz­zling green­finches and “tena­cious, tiny siskins”.

The reader is also treated to land­scapes fur­ther afield than this en­chant­ing gar­den, as we ac­com­pany Lloyd on coun­try walks across the Cum­brian hills and be­yond. The writ­ing is elo­quent and en­ables the reader to con­jure the scenes in their mind, whether it is spy­ing a buz­zard be­ing chased by corvids, or the sud­den burst of speed from a deer as it is star­tled across the fields.

Like all good na­ture writ­ing books, Lloyd’s prose is to be savoured. Not raced through and de­voured like the lat­est crime thriller, but to be ab­sorbed, en­joyed and re­flected upon.

Karen Lloyd ob­serves a pair of black­birds and their brood in her gar­den over the course of a year

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