201 pages, no illustrations
Often amusing, sometimes romantic or fraught with danger, these 30 short stories are about local people, spectacular places and the special wildlife the author sets out to find. The stories include seeking out Arabian Oryx on the searing plains of the Saudi desert; eiderdown collecting in Iceland, crouching in swirling clouds and darkness on a knife-edge ridge in the rugged Madeiran mountains and swimming with Grey Seals off the Pembroke coast.
The author describes incredible encounters with spectacular animals from lumbering manatees and dangerous rhinos to unforgettable experiences such as being led by a honeyguide with a Kenyan Dorobo tribesman to the nest of wild bees and watching cranes tip-toeing their courtship dances. He also attended a Parsi funeral where the corpses are no longer consumed by vultures; experienced a close encounter with armed Omani police, bluffed his way on to the largest refuse tip in southern Asia and canoed along Mali's Niger River watching black and yellow 'bishops' displaying along its banks. These are just a few of the remarkable experiences recounted by Malcolm in a lifetime searching out some of the most interesting, and some of the rarest, animals on earth.
These hugely entertaining tales visit places as diverse as the Florida Everglades, England's New Forest, Iceland's offshore islands, the Empty Quarter of the Saudi Desert, the tiny remnants of the Jordan's Azraq wetland and the impressive oak dehesas of Extremadura. Sit back and visit the world!
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Dr. Malcolm Smith is a biologist and former Chief Scientist at the Countryside Council for Wales. He is a prolific writer on wildlife, environment and travel and has had numerous features published in a variety of magazines and newspapers. He is the author of the acclaimed Life with Birds: A Story of Mutual Exploitation and Back from the Brink.