I’ve been watching the ducks down at our local pond since the start of April, following their journey. I think there are four drakes and three ducks. I certainly saw plenty of mating action in April and was really looking forward to seeing the ducklings emerge. I had spotted a few broken eggs on the path near the pond and was worried that eggs were being eaten by predators, so I was absolutely delighted to see this female with a brood of nine healthy-looking ducklings. Aren’t they just beautiful?! Continue reading “Mallard with Ducklings”
I’ve waited so long to take these pictures. I know they’re not perfect, but when one of your favourite animals strolls out from the trees a few metres away, you take whatever photos you can get, regardless of the strong shadows. Red deer feature prominently in my middle-grade novel, Guardian of Giria, and I have been seeking them out for about two years, mostly to no avail. This hind posed nicely for a moment, then trotted off across the road and disappeared back into the trees. I had just put my camera down when I realised she was being trailed by her newborn calf – the tiny creature on spindly legs looked like it was only hours old. I had no time to focus, so please excuse the blurry shot. I still think it’s cute as can be! Continue reading “Red Deer Hind with Calf”
A gorgeous male chaffinch. It’s a pity there is a branch partially blocking him, but there is still some lovely colour and feather detail. Beautiful birds. Continue reading “Male Chaffinch”
There are days when I go out to take photos and seeing nothing of interest. Perhaps a few roe deer that run off as I approach or a fox skulking by a distant hedgerow. I regularly see birds, but most are small and skittish and have moved on before I can lift my camera. Once in a while, though, I get to see a true spectacle. Continue reading “Bean Goose Migration”
Driving through the countryside at the moment, the air is filled with the song of these tiny little birds. I scan the skies, I scan the fields, but they are so hard to spot. Finally, I see one. I sit and watch. I listen. It is magical. Continue reading “Skylark”
Now that spring is here and the snow has finally melted, I am reopening my school & library visits. If you would like me to visit your school or library (here in Lithuania), please contact me and we can arrange a date. The presentation typically lasts for about one hour, but we can adjust this to your specific needs. I give a short introduction to my novel, Guardian of Giria, followed by a presentation on the wildlife featured in the book. The presentation appeals to kids of all ages but is particularly suited to those aged between 10 and 16. Continue reading “School & Library Visits: Now Reopening”
Our house is nestled at the edge of our village, facing out onto fields and forests for as far as the eye can see. Sitting in my front room, I regularly see buzzards swooping and soaring over the fields. Generally, they are quite far in the distance, but occasionally they do come quite close. I was lucky once to be in the garden, camera in hand, when one flew over the house. Most of the time, though, they are gone from range before I have time to grab my camera. Continue reading “A Buzzard Soars”
One question that has come up a number of times when chatting with readers about Guardian of Giria is why I made wolves the “bad guys”. And my answer is this – the wolves are not the “bad guys,” they are the antagonists. And those are not the same thing. Let me explain. (Please note that this post contains slight spoilers as to the content of the book.) Continue reading “Why the Wolves are not the Bad Guys”
Between the mists and the snow, the roads look endless. Oh, to drive forever on such roads, the crunch of snow beneath my wheels, the cold air pouring through the open windows as I dare not miss a single sight. The countryside is already beautiful, but under a thick blanket of snow, it is magical. Continue reading “Snowy Lanes”
This great spotted woodpecker (didysis margasis genys) is still flitting around my garden. Isn’t he gorgeous? Continue reading “Winter Woodpecker”
Oh, the joy! Oh, the sweet, sweet joy! Finally, after years of searching and waiting, I got to see a wild boar in the flesh. But not just one boar – a whole sounder (group) of sows and piglets! And the experience was everything I hoped it would be! Continue reading “Wild Boar Feeding Project, Tauragė (Lithuania)”
A common buzzard (paprastasis suopis) soaring above my garden. Look at that sky for the last day of October! Continue reading “Common Buzzard Soaring”
My faithful companion, Džekis (Jekis). He is seventeen (and a half!) years old and still going strong. His new winter coat is just gleaming as he basks in the last of the autumn sun. Continue reading “Companion”
There is something soothing about September. After the build-up of spring and the crescendo of summer, things are slowly starting to wind down. The ouch is gone out of the sun but it is still warm enough to be outside, sometimes even in shorts and a t-shirt. The evenings are noticeably shorter but there is still enough light to walk the dog after dinner. By 9 pm it is fully dark, perfect for settling down with a good book or a movie without the guilty feeling that you should be doing something more “constructive”. Continue reading “Sparkling Webs”
This is how to do September – high tea in a high hide! Continue reading “High Tea in a High Hide!”
It appears our area is a congregation site for common cranes (grus grus) – thousands of them gather each autumn in the fields around our village, getting ready for the long flight south. They are a little skittish, so getting close can be tricky, but they are a magnificent sight to behold.
Continue reading “Cranes in the Mist”
Strictly speaking, this is a common frog, but that seems like too plain a name for a creature so beautiful, and one who looks so at home on the forest floor, surrounded by moss, twigs and other detritus. So I’m calling him a forest frog!
Continue reading “Forest Frog”
This morning, I spent the best part of an hour rescuing this hedgehog from certain death. Continue reading “Hedgehog Rescue”
It was very misty this morning and I didn’t have a great sleep last night, so when I saw this guy on the garden fence I was certain I was seeing things. Unfortunately, he flew off before I could grab my binoculars. But later, when I went out to the bin, I spotted him again and managed to grab my camera before he flew off. I think this is the most beautiful bird I have ever seen “in the flesh”! Continue reading “Hoopoe (Kukutis)”
Today, I am delighted to announce my new “Free Books for Schools & Libraries” initiative.
Schools & libraries in Ireland and Lithuania can now apply for a free Paperback copy of Guardian of Giria. Teachers and librarians internationally can also apply for a free Kindle copy of the book. Continue reading “FREE BOOKS for Schools & Libraries!”
I have spread myself too thin. Somehow I have ended up with 5 Facebook pages, 2 Twitter accounts and 2 blogs, none of which is currently well attended. So, in an attempt to simplify my life, I am cutting back! Continue reading “Amalgamation”
Giria Wood is a large forest with a healthy population of animal families, many of whom feature in the story. Some are main characters and others are just family members who are mentioned once or twice. Together, they make quite a cast of characters. Continue reading “Characters in Guardian of Giria”
The Kindle version of Guardian of Giria is currently on sale for just 99c / 99p.
Available from Amazon here.
A sample from the book is now available here.
Continue reading “Guardian of Giria – Read A Sample”
The first batch of hardbacks arrived today and they are totally gorgeous (even if I do say so myself!)
Continue reading “The Hardbacks Have Arrived!”
A red deer stag with a massive crown of antlers is a very impressive sight. And indeed, that is part of their function – to make the stag look more impressive to the ladies. It takes a lot of testosterone to grow those antlers and it takes a lot of food to nourish them, so large antlers are a good indication of the virility and strength of the male. Unfortunately for the stags, they lose their antlers every year and then grow a new set. And while they’re between sets of antlers, they look just like the girls!
Continue reading “Red Deer Antlers: Annual Regrowth”
It feels like I’ve been waiting such a long time to bring you this news and I am very, very excited. On Tuesday, May 8th 2018 I will be releasing my very first novel, Guardian of Giria.
Continue reading “Introducing: Guardian of Giria!”