A week away – and very nearly sold out

Henry at The Palace - Copy

A week today is Hen Harrier Eve when over 250 people (but the room can hold 300 so there are a few tickets available) will gather to celebrate the Hen Harrier ahead of the Hen Harrier Day rally in the Peak District the next morning (9 August, Goyt Valley).


Hen Harrier Eve – 8 August 2015

1830 Doors open, and so does the bar, in the High Peak room of the Palace Hotel, Buxton for Hen Harrier Eve – an evening to celebrate the Hen Harrier.


1930 Mark Avery – an introduction and a short reading from Inglorious

1945 RSPB Skydancer video

2000 Water and Stone – readings about place

2015 Jeremy Deller in conversation with Mark Cocker

2035 – 2100 Interval

2100 Mark Cocker – Birds of prey and their part in our culture

2120 Findlay Wilde – Where’s Henry – a pictorial history

2135 Chris Packham

2155 Charlie Moores from Birders Against Wildlife Crime closes the evening and says a few words about tomorrow’s Hen Harrier Day rally in the nearby Goyt Valley.


2200-2400  Bar open, mingle.


Email mark@markavery.info with the number of tickets you would like (£10 each, max of four tickets per email address) and the names of the ticket-holders (for fire safety reasons and because tickets will have your name on them) and I’ll be in touch about payment details.  Tickets must be ordered by Monday evening and paid for by Thursday midday.  No tickets available on the door on the night.

This evening is not quite sold out – but it’s very, very close, so if you are thinking of coming now is the time to reserve your tickets.


Saturday cartoon by Ralph Underhill





Henry finds another butt

Fri 31 July Copy


#Have YouSeen Henry?

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Inglorious in the media

getimage-3In Tuesday’s Independent by me


In Thursday’s Times (Scotland only?) by Lindsay Mcintosh and Robbie Hurley


On Thursday’s BBC Radio 4 Farming Today (7m30s into it).


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Off to the Game Fair

This afternoon at 2pm I am the token leftie on a panel at the CLA Game Fair – it’s very nice of them to invite me.  In theory, we are discussing whether landowners are friends or foes of wildlife. I suspect we might get on to grouse shooting at some stage.

I wish Henry were going to be with me…

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Henry visits the CLA

Thurs 30 July(a) Copy

Belgrave Square has rarely, if ever, seen a six-foot Hen Harrier before, but last week we visited the London HQ of the Country Land and Business Association.

Henry said that it all looked very posh – much posher than the Scottish Land and Estates little office block. Henry gave his plumage a special preen to make sure he looked extra-smart for this visit. I told him he was the smartest-looking Hen Harrier ever to grace Belgrave Square and that seemed to make him happy – though he is rather expressionless.

When Philip Merricks leapt, for he is very agile, out of a taxi Henry looked astonished, and then slightly nervous – although you would have to know him very well to detect these slight changes of demeanour on his rather impassive owl-like facial disc.

We didn’t have a long chat about brood-meddling or whether the Hawk and Owl Trust were going to support Hen Harrier Day this year (although they have now joined the thunderclap – good for them!) – there was only time for the briefest of photos. Many thanks to Philip for being a good sport!

I’ll be seeing Philip again tomorrow at a ‘debate’ at the CLA Game Fair, also starring Owen Paterson and Ian Coghill. I wish Henry were coming with me. Maybe he will…

Thurs 30 July(b) Copy


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Today Inglorious is published


Big day for me – just a normal day for everyone else.

There was a very nice review of Inglorious in The Independent by friend of mine, and friend of nature, Michael McCarthy (click here). ‘The logic is impeccable

There was a less favourable account of Inglorious in The Times by no friend of mine, but friend of grouse shooting, Magnus Linklater (click here – but most of it is behind a paywall).  Although, I do wonder whether Linklater actually read the book – his objections to the case against driven grouse shooting seem to take little account of what the book actually says.

Maybe you should take a look and make up your own mind – that’s fine by me.




Henry just had to stop

Weds 29 July  Copy

Henry and I were passing through the Oxfordshire countryside, somewhere between Banbury and Chipping Norton, at least I think it was Oxfordshire, maybe it was Northants. As I say, we were just passing through, when Henry said that he needed to consult Inglorious about a few things.

So he did.

For everyone else,  Inglorious – conflict in the uplands is  officially published tomorrow.



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At the Birdwatch offices

Birdwatch August 2015 coverI popped into the offices of Birdwatch in north London last week – I’d never been there before.

I’ve been writing a monthly column, The Political Birder, for Birdwatch more or less since I left the RSPB over four years ago. This is not an activity that will allow me to retire with a full cellar of high quality Rioja on which to fall back, but it is a great pleasure and, I feel, quite a privilege to be able to sound off in the UK’s leading birding magazine.

Although Dominic Mitchell is the founder and editor of the magazine, I am particularly fond of Rebecca Armstrong (to whom I send my copy (almost always on time) for editing) and Heather O’Connor (who sends me money for them) – I’m not sure which of them I like the most, really!

The office is near the main line into Kings Cross and I will have passed it many scores of times when heading in to London to meet ministers or civil servants in a previous life without knowing that I was doing so.


Must be this way

I knew I was on the right track when I saw this sign – Birdwatch would have to be at the centre of the Wood Green Cultural Quarter surely?





The home of Birdwatch – but no chocolates

The offices are high up in a building known as the Chocolate Factory although I’m told that it used to be a sweet factory making Bassetts Liquorice Allsorts and is just round the corner from Guillemot Place.  A nice lady at Reception asked me where I’d parked my car and I said ‘About 60 miles away yesterday’ which puzzled her before she occupied an ear to ear smile which made my day. Maybe she assumed I must have a car because I was in a suit and tie – Dominic told me that only estate agents and those heading to the Magistrates’ Court wore such things in these parts.

I drank coffee and chatted to Dominic, Rebecca, Heather and Josh (ie distracted them from more important things). Ian and David, the rest of the permanent Chocolate Factory team, weren’t in today. I learned that the office had a window list of 90 species including Honey Buzzard and Great White Egret – pretty impressive!

I also learned that when I send my copy to Rebecca she edits it (but was sweet enough to say she hardly has to do anything to it) and then lays it out for the page in the magazine. Rebecca finds the images too (which are always appropriate and good).

Domnic Mitchell with August Birdwatch

Dominic Mitchell with August Birdwatch

I was there last Thursday, 23 July, when August Birdwatch went on sale in newsagents across the country. Checking my records, I wrote that column and sent it to Rebecca on 21 June. Because this edition has extracts from Inglorious in it, I was liaising with Dominic up until Friday 10 July when the magazine was sent to the printer in Lincolnshire. So from my point of view, this month’s Birdwatch was written in mid-late June, appears in late July and says August on the cover.

The actual pages are printed in 16-page blocks which are then cut and assembled together. Dominic told me that back in 1992 Birdwatch was 48 pages every two months and now it is 96 pages every month.

I may go and have a look at the printers’ operation one day. I think that would be fun.






Henry visits the Countryside Alliance

Tues 28 July  Copy

The Countryside Alliance is full of real country people – like Sir Barnie White-Spunner (who ran for cover from the Lead Ammunition Group).

They didn’t seem to be in when we visited last week with the red London buses , black taxi cabs, and commuters in a traffic jam on the Kennington Road.  Maybe they’d all fled Vauxhall for the countryside?

The Countryside Alliance feature in Inglorious on pages 98, 124, 134-5, 136, 147, 148, 169, 184, 192, 213 and 230.



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