Monday, 30 July 2012


The September edition of BBC Wildlife Magazine should now be on the shelves and on page 80 you will be able to read my article about fishing for tiddlers. I'm really thrilled just to get anything published in such a great publication. Most of the contributors are either famous broadcasters or photographers, apart from Bill Oddie, that is (apparently he's both!) Now I'm one of them too, so if you have booked me for a talk, the fee just went up and you can't afford me any more!

It's a special honour because my story won the BBC Wildlife Magazine Nature Writer of the Year Award. I know; anyone who has read my blogs will tell you that I'm the sloppiest writer around. 'More of a C- than an A+ really; but the story was a good one,  based on real-life observation.

My first attempt at this competition was about meeting a herd of bison at dusk, in the snow at Old Faithful Lodge in Yellowstone Park. The temperature was about -26 F and I needed to get inside, but the bison were in my way. That story was short-listed and so I was encouraged to try again.

I wrote another story about my wife walking on water. To be honest, she was on all fours, but only her hands and feet were getting wet, due to the white tipped reef shark that was underneath her at the time. The editors were not amused, so I tried another story about cuddly flying squirrels in the Maine woods; another dud. But this year my story about catching humble bullheads won.

I suppose I'm barred from entering next time, which is a shame because I enjoyed sharpening up my stories for possible publication. The up-side is that I have won a place on an Earthwatch Expedition. The prize is a trip to Kenya, or South Africa or Puerto Rico. Having worked in East Africa quite a bit, I fancy sliding down muddy gullies in torrential Caribbean rain to search for frogs for a change. They are a lot easier to handle than rhinos or hyenas.

If  I now take up writing fiction for competitions, you'd better watch out because you might all be in it!

You can now see the full story in the new BBC Wildlife Magazine online.