Back To Basics

Anita Sethi, from her website

This blog was supposed to be about my creative writing, but generally functions as a birding diary. Today I was on a Lancashire Litfest nature writing workshop with Anita Sethi and a number of amateur writers, so it seemed a good day to redress the balance a bit.

Anita wrote a book ‘I Belong Here’ about her experiences walking The Pennine Way, which was shortlisted for the Wainwright nature writing prize last year. I’ve not read it myself, I have read a shorter piece in the ‘Women On Nature’ anthology that gives an insight into her style.

One of the exercises was to write about nature where we were. I was in Blackpool, and wrote the following in the ten minutes or see we had. It’s rough and a bit cliched, but if I don’t put creative writing on here after a creative writing workshop I never will.

Blackpool. As densely urban as London, with deprivation to match. Little room for nature, but it always finds a way. Herring and Lesser-black Backed Gulls nesting on rooftops in the summer, taking the unwanted food and sometimes brazenly the food we do still want. Starling murmurations in the winter, swirling apparently randomly but precisely over North Pier before roosting each night. Peregrines on the church tower, preying on the ubiquitous feral pigeons and discarded feathers following like snow to the square. Ten thousand scoter ducks bobbing offshore, nationally important numbers largely unknown to residents of the town. It’s not just human visitors who flock here.

(Yes the flock play on words is a bit naff)

Common Scoter off North Shore this very morning

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