Rich Burkmar

An economically curious ecologist

Category: natural history

I am, have always been, and will always be, a natural historian at heart. I love nature – it’s what keeps me going through the low-points in life and has been the source of many of the high-points. Occasionally I write about natural history and the joy it gives to me.

  • A Tale of Two Willow Wrens

    Like Dickens’ novel, A Tale of Two Cities, this story is also one of contrasts; between birds, places and ways of studying natural history. It was another English literary giant, the 18th century natural historian Gilbert White – and grandfather of biological recording – who first distinguished, on the basis of their songs, not two…

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    A Tale of Two Willow Wrens
  • Sandhill Rustic Dreaming

    A singing Robin once stirred me from a garden reverie on a gentle September afternoon. Its song, imbued with autumn melancholy, seemed to express both mortality and living beauty. I looked up at the singer, back-lit by late afternoon sunshine filtering through the elder where it perched. A light rain fell, bending, scattering and amplifying…

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    Sandhill Rustic Dreaming
  • The Sound of the Earth turning

    Laying awake at 3.30, I heard a distant cockerel crowing somewhere in the village and, unexpectedly, a few croaky stanzas from a nearby Woodpigeon giving me the impression that it was just back from a night out on the tiles. Then silence again. At 4.00 – I’m not sure if I was still awake or…

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    The Sound of the Earth turning
  • Message in a bottle

    This morning I started reading Wild Life in a Southern County by the 19th century author and naturalist Richard Jefferies. But so far I haven’t got very far into Jefferies’ book; my progress was slowed by what I can only describe as an arresting introduction by Richard Mabey. An introduction by Richard Mabey to any…

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    Message in a bottle