Looking for the Goshawk

Looking for the Goshawk

Conor Mark Jameson

Language: English

Pages: 368

ISBN: 147292259X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


The book traces Conor Jameson's travels in search of the Goshawk, a magnificent yet rarely seen (in Britain at least) raptor. Each episode of the narrative arises from personal experience, investigation, and the unearthing of information from research, exploration and conversations. The journey takes him from an encounter with a stuffed Goshawk in a glass case, through travels into supposed Goshawk territories in Britain, to Berlin - where he finds the bird at ease in the city. Why, he wants to know, is the bird so rarely seen in Britain? He explores the politics of birdwatching, the sport of falconry and the impact of persecution on the recent history of the bird in Britain and travels the length of Britain, through central Europe and the USA in search of answers to the goshawk mystery. Throughout his journey he is inspired by the writings of T H White who told of his attempts to tame a Goshawk in his much-loved book. It's a gripping tale on the trail of a most mysterious and charismatic bird.

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hours Goldfinches have taken the hint, illuminated in the dawn sunlight, working the bristly cones to extract seeds. Frumpy sparrows perch nearby, as usual, admiring the glitzy newcomers and their craft. Migrant warblers are passing through, feeding up as they go. A Chiffchaff works the Weeping Birch energetically, pirouetting in pursuit of flushed gnats. I’ve collected two loads of off-cut wood from a neighbour on the last two evenings, which I have to sort and cut for firewood, or practical

there a few months ago. He’s always maintained that although he himself has never seen a Goshawk there, his mind is open that they might be present. This morning he has a look on his face that I can read, even before he has spoken. It’s the unmistakeable air of a man who’s made a breakthrough. “What have you seen?” I ask him. “It’s Goshawk, isn’t it?” I add, as a smile breaks over his face. He is nodding, slowly, eyebrows raised, like a man who has seen an apparition, or at least had an

Goshawks were finding their way into the wild here annually, whether set free, or absconding. That’s 225 Goshawks in nine years. *** Why was it done? Mick: “The motives were two-fold and simple, the desire to replace a lost species and to establish a harvestable resource. There were no official guidelines for re-introductions back then. Introductions, including of alien species, were commonplace. “Releasing Goshawks was not then illegal. There was one particular group of folk – a ‘club’ that

Nothing. Seconds pass. Still nothing. Then something. High above me and the tell-tale Blue Tit, dark against the blue, is a falling shape. Not a bird shape. A kind of heart shape. Going across the sky, gently – not steeply – downward. What on earth is that, I’m thinking. It’s disguising all its salient points: head withdrawn, wings completely tucked. Its not in a hurry. It’s coasting. Joy riding. It’s biggish too. Why did the Blue Tit yell hawk? Now I’m thinking Goshawk. Really thinking

outlawed in 1904. By this time there were none bar the occasional passage Goshawk from the continent left to protect. Not all gamekeepers were prepared to kill protected species. At the start of the 1960s, one keeper spared hawks, owls and Ravens. Others followed suit, believing it unnecessary to kill these species, even before the law changed in 1954. It is clear that some keepers had the integrity to do this, and that the Estate as a whole was prepared to grant them this latitude. It is also

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