THE BLACKBIRD DIARIES: A YEAR WITH 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