I don’t see many Goshawks, and so I was interested to read about film cameraman James Aldred’s experiences filming this species for much of the spring and summer of 2020. Spending so much time with this bird would make it ‘a season unlike any other’ for most of us but it was also a season of covid for our world, although the Goshawks would have been oblivious to that.

In a way, coronovirus has been something of a boon to some nature writers since it creates a year like no other in which their observations of natural history can be set. It allows there to be juxtaposing of ‘how I feel about this wildlife thing’ against ‘how I feel about this pandemic thing’, and this works well in this account; one moves from the close world of filming at a nest to the broader scene with good effect. But this wildlife account is fascinating in its own right and well worth reading – it’s just that the global pandemic adds to it.

We learn a lot about Goshawks from this book and I wonder how many fewer Grey Squirrels we would have in our woods if we had a few more Goshawks.

I really don’t see many Goshawks, and so I remember recent sightings quite clearly. There was one over my garden, almost on this date, in 2014 but I have had a handful of Merlin sightings, tens of sightings of Kestrels, Hobbys and Peregrines, hundreds of Sparrowhawks and Buzzards and thousands of Red Kites since then with no more Goshawks. And views in the Brecks, and from a road overlooking a forestry plantation next to a grouse moor in east Scotland, are more recent Goshawk appearances in my life. So, this book opens the world of Goshawks to me in a way that I enjoyed and will never have the opportunity to experience myself. And I am pretty sure that will be true for you too.

The cover? I’m not keen on the greenish hue and the design doesn’t do much for me – I’d give it 5/10.

Goshawk Summer: a New Forest season unlike any other by James aldred is published by Elliot and Thompson.


The post Sunday book review – Goshawk Summer by James Aldred appeared first on Mark Avery.

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