The Peregrine by J. A. Baker
is much more than a detailed observation of the falcon of the title. The author roams his patch of the Essex countryside, evoking the landscape, the changing light and other wild species he comes across. As he walks through winter, he notes the cruel impact of an unrelenting freeze, finding a dying heron, “its wings . . . stuck to the ground by frost”. He witnesses scenes like the following:
Above the brook a kingfisher hovered. . . . It half dived, half fell, and its bill hit ice with a loud click like a bone breaking. It could see a fish below the ice but it did not know what ice was. It lay on its belly, stunned or dead, sprawling like a brilliantly coloured toad.
In trying to break free of a human perspective, Baker found a haunting, unsentimental style to describe the natural world on his doorstep. More information on The Peregrine