After a 240-year hiatus, white-tailed eagles are coming back to southern England

A lot is riding on the wings of six baby sea eagles released on the Isle of Wight. They are pioneers of a project to bring the birds back to southern England.

For centuries, there’s been an eagle-shaped hole in the skies over England where the majestic white-tailed eagle once soared. The enormous raptor — its wingspan stretches nearly eight feet — was hunted to extinction some 240 years ago.

“They are a missing part of England’s native biodiversity and were lost entirely through human activities, particularly intense persecution,” notes the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation, a charitable trust dedicated to wildlife conservation and research.

But last August, hope took flight again on the tenuous wings of six baby raptors. The chicks, as The Guardian reports, were released on the Isle of Wight, in the hope they would someday reclaim their place in the skies of southern Britain.

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The world’s longest coastal path to open in England in 2021

Author of a new guidebook to the Path Stephen Neale offers a taste of what’s in store next year


The Thames pilot steered the foot ferry out of Tilbury dock, Essex, towards Gravesend, in Kent. He told me some of his passengers only travel one way.

  • “Why?”
  • “Because they’re trying to walk the entire coast,” he said.
  • “How many people say that to you?”
  • “More than you think,” he replied.

It was 2018, and I was researching the England Coast Path for my book of the same name. When the route opens, hopefully next year, it will be the longest coast path in the world. And all those people who have tried, and failed, to walk the entire coast, without cutting miles inland, will now have a better chance to succeed.

The world’s greatest public right of way network

A monumental achievement. Not for the walker. But the landowners, volunteers and politicians, who across almost two decades, made it possible. The path will connect everyone of us to our salty waters via the world’s greatest public right of way network. A triumph of economic regeneration and mindful human experience in nature.

My own relationship to the coast is not associated with long walks. It’s linked to living in a seaside town at Southend, walking a little of the shore each week, crabbing as a kid and being mild ly obsessed with exploring new places that don’t involve tramping the coast every day for several years.

I like to walk, but I don’t think of myself as a walker. Any more than I considered myself a walker when I played golf.

The England Coast Path opens up a catalogue of mini adventures, sleeps, new foods and thirst quenching drinks like water, coffee and warm beer.

Twin forts

Cliffe Fort in Kent is one of my favourite mini adventures. I take my own water because there are no shops or cafes. Apart from that, the old ruin combines almost everything that’s good about our coast.

It was built in the 19th century at the mouth of the river Thames to guard London from French war ships. At one time it was fitted out with a launcher for the Brennan torpedo— the world’s first guided missile, until it accidentally sunk a Thames trawler  [ . . . ]

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Sounds of hope: Winter Wren

By Laura Sebastianelli

Background sounds: distant surf on rocky coast, lobster boat, light irregular wind, other animals: red squirrel, flies, Black Throated Green warbler, Northern Parula warbler, Dark-eye Junco.

Laura Sebastinelli

Marantz PMD561, 2 Sennheiser ME62s


A longtime friend of THE HOBBLEDEHOY, Laura Sebastianelli is a naturalist, ecological educator, sound recordist, citizen scientist, and active community member living near Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve
in Alexandria, VA.
Visit at: wildaroundus.wordpress.com/

Birding in a Dangerous Time

How to mostly stay home, but still partake in a spectacular spring migration.


While the deadly coronavirus pandemic continues to spread across the globe, a much different wave is sweeping through our backyards almost unnoticed — one that offers much-needed inspiration and emotional relief during troubled times.

The annual northward spring migration of birds is underway, providing citizens with not just a distraction from the ho-hum of self-isolation, but an opportunity to experience one of the greatest natural wonders on Earth without even leaving the house.

“This migration — birds coming from distant countries — can open your eyes to another world, something entirely foreign,” says Rob Butler, a B.C. bird expert, author and former federal research scientist. “Most people are completely oblivious to it.”

According to the National Audubon Society, at least a billion birds migrate annually along the Pacific Flyway — a route that follows the west side of the Americas and crosses a vast range of habitats from the tropics to the Arctic. Continue reading

Beauty during pandemic: dueting Barred Owls

By Laura Sebastianelli

Despite rain (light to medium at times) a pair of of dueting Barred Owls was recorded for over an hour (4:20 – 5:25am) this morning at the edges of west Dyke Marsh and River Towers, Alexandria, VA. This clip features roughly 5 minutes that includes 3 sets of caterwauling — calls described well by Birds of North America Online as “a raucous jumble of cackles, hoots, caws and gurgles.

Laura Sebastinelli

Marantz PMD561, Sennheiser ME66
BAOW 032820 450am 1035 Short Final


A longtime friend of THE HOBBLEDEHOY, Laura Sebastianelli is a naturalist, ecological educator, sound recordist, citizen scientist, and active community member living near Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve
in Alexandria, VA.
Visit at: wildaroundus.wordpress.com/