Author Archives: Mark

About Mark

Born Bristol, UK Educated: Cleeve House School Bristol, Bristol Grammar School and Downing College Cambridge Ph.D. University of Aberdeen, Winter activity of pipistrelle bats. NERC post-doctoral Research Fellow, Edward Grey Institute, Oxford University Former Conservation Director of the RSPB, 1989-2011

Who is the more wounded?

I drove through the Badlands enjoying the scenery, the early morning coolness, the promise of another sunny day and the ubiquitous song of the Western Meadowlark. Meadowlarks, Eastern and Western, are declining grassland birds who suffer from the earlier cutting of hay and silage these days.  They are the corncrakes of North America.  But with their […]

Not so bad lands

The Badlands National Park is 224,000 acres of scenery south of the I90 and it is stunningly beautiful. A prairie grassland with striking rock formations. And the sun shone all day.   I saw Bison and Pronghorn Antelope roaming the Plains, Bighorn Sheep on the rocks, Mule Deer in the valleys and Prairie Dogs in […]

Wall Drug

I didn’t really want to go to Wall Drug but I am glad that I did. The legend behind the drugstore, restaurant and shopping arcade on the I90 is that it was set up in the 1930s and wasn’t really making a go of it until the lady behind the business had an idea. They […]

Leaving Midland, SD

I woke early this morning and knew that it had been raining in Midland, SD but that now the air had cleared. I got up, dressed, tip-toed down the creaky wooden stairs of the Stroppel Hotel and strolled down the rain-soaked main street. Midland was quiet at 630am although there were orioles singing, House Sparrows […]


Today, the sun shone all day and the birds came out and it was great. I occasionally renewed my friendship with I90 heading West but mostly I stuck to smaller parallel roads that took me out of the homely and friendly Sioux Falls and through a mainly arable, mainly flat landscape broken up with wetlands and […]