Sunday book review – The Accidental Countryside by Stephen Moss

It’s quite difficult to keep up with reading Stephen Moss’s books – I wonder how he writes them so quickly. But what we have come to expect is good writing with good knowledge of natural history. That is what we get here.

The theme of this latest book is urban, or at least man-made, patches of land, and how wildlife has fitted in with what we have created. So Moss covers Peregrines in the middle of cities (see the cover), canals, roadside verges, industrial sites and the Broch on Mousa.

There is wildlife everywhere and Moss takes us through some thinking on how it fits in with us and how we benefit from its presence. Certainly I have spent a lot of time in the last 10 days trying to figure out what the Jackdaws that live in chimney pots in my street are taking down those chimneys and which crevices the local Starlings and House Sparrows are using for nesting. Lockdown would be much less bearable were it not for wildlife, and particularly birds.

This is a very enjoyable read.

The Accidental Countryside: hidden havens for Britain’s wildlife by Stephen Moss is published by Guardian Faber Publishing.

Remarkable Birds by Mark Avery is published by Thames and Hudson – for reviews see here.
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3 Replies to “Sunday book review – The Accidental Countryside by Stephen Moss”

  1. “what the Jackdaws that live in chimney pots in my street are taking down those chimneys “That will be twigs and tons of them. Over the years an unused chimney of the old house next door had to have seven barrow loads of twigs removed to reinstate it. Not a nice job as it had to be done from below.
    I had a major job getting the interlocking twigs out of an owl box they had used and completely blocked up.

    1. andrew - yes except that for a while they have been taking things about the size of a pingpong ball, but black discs rather than spheres. I decided that yesterday I would work out what they were but I only saw one being carried, and I didn't get a good look at it. They are almost always brought from one particular direction too.

      1. I have no idea what the black discs might be that you have observed jackdaws bring back to their nests, but I have just spent an entertaining few minutes watching a jackdaw making a spirited, if unsuccessful, attempt to fly off with the cable connected to my neighbour's tv aerial.


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