Related to: 'The Moth Snowstorm'

John Murray

Say Goodbye to the Cuckoo

Michael McCarthy
Authors:
Michael McCarthy

If we could see it as a whole, if they all arrived in a single flock, say, we would be truly amazed: sixteen million birds. Swallows, martins, swifts, warblers, wagtails, wheatears, cuckoos, chats, nightingales, nightjars, thrushes, pipits and flycatchers pouring into Britain from sub-Saharan Africa. It is one of the enduring wonders of the natural world. Each bird faces the most daunting of journeys -navigating epic distances, dependent on bodily fuel reserves. Yet none can refuse. Since pterodactyls flew, twice-yearly odysseys have been the lot of migrant birds. For us, for millennia, the Great Arrival has been celebrated. From The Song of Solomon, through Keats' Ode To a Nightingale, to our thrill at hearing the first cuckoo call each year, the spring-bringers are timeless heralds of shared seasonal joy. Yet, migrant birds are finding it increasingly hard to make the perilous journeys across the African desert. Say Goodbye to the Cuckoo is a moving call to arms by an impassioned expert: get outside, teach your children about these birds, don't let them disappear from our shores and hearts.

Alys Fowler

Alys Fowler is an award winning journalist and passionate gardener. She is the author of several books and writes a weekly column on gardening for Guardian Weekend magazine. She lives in Birmingham.

Brett Westwood

Brett Westwood is an award-winning producer, presenter and naturalist. He presented the radio series of Natural Histories. His other acclaimed radio series range from Tweet of the Day (winner of Best Radio Series 2014) to Brett Westwood's Diaries. He is also a consultant for Springwatch and Autumnwatch.

Carolyn Fry

Carolyn Fry is the former editor of Geographical, the magazine of the Royal Geographic Society and has travelled the world in search of stories. She has written five books on botanical themes, including the acclaimed Plant Hunters.

Clover Stroud

Clover Stroud is a writer and journalist writing for the Daily Mail, Sunday Times, Daily Telegraph, and Conde Nast Traveller, among others. She lives in Oxfordshire with her husband and five children.

David Attenborough

Sir David Attenborough is a broadcaster and naturalist whose television career is now in its seventh decade. After studying Natural Sciences at Cambridge and a brief stint in publishing, he joined the BBC. Since the launch of his famous Zoo Quest series in 1954 he has surveyed almost every aspect of life on earth and brought it to the viewing public. His latest programme, Planet Earth II, was the most-watched nature documentary of all time.

David Rothery

David Rothery is a volcanologist, geologist, planetary scientist and Professor of Planetary Geosciences at the Open University.

Fiona Stafford

Fiona Stafford is Professor of English at the University of Oxford. She specialises in literature of the Romantic period (especially Wordsworth, Austen, Burns, Keats, Clare), Scottish and Irish literature, contemporary poetry, environmental humanities and nature writing, literature and the visual arts. In addition to academic books and essays, she contributes to newspapers, literary magazines, art books, Radio 3's The Essay and collections of nature writing. She is the author of The Long, Long Life of Trees, and Jane Austen: A Brief Life.

Gavin Pretor-Pinney

Gavin Pretor-Pinney is the founder of The Cloud Appreciation Society, a global organisation he set up to fight 'blue-sky thinking'. He is also the co-founder and creative director of The Idler magazine, winner of The Royal Society Winton Science Writing Prize and author of the bestselling THE CLOUDSPOTTER'S GUIDE. He lives in London and Somerset.

George Mackay Brown

George Mackay Brown was one of the greatest Scottish writers of the twentieth century. A prolific poet, admired by such fellow poets as Ted Hughes and Seamus Heaney, he was also an accomplished novelist and a master of the short story. He died at the age of 74 on 13 April 1996.

Grace McCleen

Grace McCleen's first novel, The Land of Decoration, was published in 2012 and was awarded the Desmond Elliott Prize for the best first novel of the year. It was also chosen for Richard & Judy's Book Club and won her the Betty Trask Prize in 2013. Her second novel, The Professor of Poetry, was published by Sceptre in 2013 and was shortlisted for the Encore Award. She read English at the University of Oxford and has an MA from York, and currently lives in London.

Jack Hudson

Meet Jack, Calum and Robbie Hudson, three brothers born and raised exploring the wild outdoors. When they moved to Cumbria from Yorkshire they discovered the idyllic Lake District was within cycling distance. There they learned the simple joy of whiling away their summers jumping off stacks and wild swimming with friends. Eventually, as they grew older, the brothers started to notice that folk, including themselves, were growing increasingly more detached from the natural world. Working in cities, they began to feel the weight of life in the urban grind - the common monotony of nine-to-five, during which the only wildlife around is the occasional pigeon. At the same time they noticed a sad cycle of anxiety, fatigue and desperation. It seemed like everything they'd done as kids was fading behind the tinted glass of nostalgia. So, they decided to get together and change their course. Suddenly the Wild Swimming Brothers was born.

John Grindrod

John Grindrod grew up on 'the last road in London' on Croydon's New Addington housing estate, surrounded by the Green Belt. He is the author of Concretopia: A Journey Around the Rebuilding of Postwar Britain, described by the Independent on Sunday as 'a new way of looking at modern Britain'. He has written for the Guardian, Financial Times, Big Issue and The Modernist and has worked as a bookseller and publisher for over twenty-five years. He runs the popular website dirtymodernscoundrel.com and can be contacted on Twitter @Grindrod.

Kathy Willis

Kathy Willis is director of science at Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew. She is also professor of long-term ecology and a fellow of Merton College, both at Oxford University. Winner of several awards, she has spent over 20 years researching and teaching biodiversity and conservation at Oxford and Cambridge.

Leo Critchley

Leo was born and raised in London but always pined for the fresh sea air and wide-open spaces of the south west where he was taken on yearly holidays. Graduating from Christ`s College, Cambridge having switched subjects from Natural Sciences to English Literature due to a lamentable lack of poetry in the former, he went on to start a company teaching kung fu, before a spell as a management consultant and web designer. He now writes and lives in West London. For more information visit www.robandleo.com. You can also follow Rob and Leo on Facebook and Twitter https://www.facebook.com/getbackuk and @robandleo

Martin Faulks

Martin Faulks is a martial arts champion and Mystical adventurer. He has a black belt in Japanese Ninjutsu (Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu) and the Korean martial art, Kuk Sool Won and is proficient in the spiritual disciplines of China, including Tai Chi, Qi Gong and the legendary form of Yi Jin Jing.He is a three time national martial arts champion* and a regional fencing champion. Martin has travelled extensively and trained with some of the world's most skilled martial arts masters, including such famous masters as Bo ou Mander, Grand Master Masaaki Hatsumi, Noguchi Sensei, Stephen Hayes and Michael Pearce. He won gold medals at the (Kuk Sool Won) National Korean Martial Arts Association tournament 1993, 1994, and 1995. For Martin the Ninja arts are about secret knowledge. Knowledge that can lead to enlightenment and can allow you to aid your fellow man, through which he feels he gains a complete and balanced view of the spiritual mysteries. His previous works include:Gateways to Health: Secrets of Rejuvenation andButterfly Tai Chi: Health, Energy and Tranquility in 10 Minutes a Day

Michael McCarthy

Michael McCarthy has won a string of awards for his writing on the environment and the natural world, first as Environment Correspondent of The Times, and later as Environment Editor of the Independent. These have included Specialist Writer of the Year in the British Press Awards, the Medal of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds for 'outstanding services to conservation', the Dilys Breeze Medal of the British Trust for Ornithology, and the Silver Medal of the Zoological Society of London. In 2008 McCarthy wrote Say Goodbye To The Cuckoo, a study of Britain's declining summer migrant birds, which was widely praised.

Nick Hunt

Nick Hunt has walked and written across much of Europe. His articles have appeared in the Economist, the Guardian and other publications, and he also works as a storyteller and co-editor for the Dark Mountain Project. His first book, Walking the Woods and the Water (Nicholas Brealey, 2014), was a finalist for the Stanford Dolman Travel Book of the Year. He currently lives in Bristol.

Oliver Tearle

Oliver Tearle is a lecturer in English at Loughborough University and the founder of the popular blog Interesting Literature: A Library of Literary Interestingness. He is the author of two academic books, Bewilderments of Vision: Hallucination and Literature, 1880-1914 and T. E. Hulme and Modernism, as well as the co-editor of Crrritic!. His proudest achievement is coining the word 'bibliosmia' to describe the smell of old books, although his suggested neologism for writer's block, 'colygraphia', is yet to take the world by storm.

Patrick Leigh Fermor

In December 1933, at the age of eighteen, Patrick Leigh Fermor (1915-2011) walked across Europe, reaching Constantinople in early 1935. He travelled on into Greece, where in Athens he met Balasha Cantacuzene, with whom he lived - mostly in Rumania - until the outbreak of war. Serving in occupied Crete, he led a successful operation to kidnap a German general, for which he won the DSO and was once described by the BBC as 'a cross between Indiana Jones, James Bond and Graham Greene'. After the war he began writing, and travelled extensively round Greece with Joan Eyres Monsell whom he later married. Towards the end of his life he wrote the first two books about his early trans-European odyssey, A Time of Gifts and Between the Woods and the Water. He planned a third, unfinished at the time of his death in 2011, which has since been edited by Colin Thubron and Artemis Cooper and published as The Broken Road.