This weekly diary was first written for a local newspaper, based on observations and events recorded in the beautiful area of Ardudwy in the old Welsh county of Meirionnydd. Most of the entries are based on regular wildlife walks of the northern shore of the Artro Estuary, including the sandy heath landscape of the Maes and adjacent shore of Tremadog Bay, a designated European marine reserve for thousands of over-wintering Common Scoter. Several entries are from inland observations made in the wild and remote Rhinogs mountain range and associated moors, wood and rivers, the inland border and hinterland of the Gulf Stream warmed Ardudwy coastal strip. It is hoped that these diary entries convey the richness and beauty of the landscape in which we are so lucky to live and encourage the reader to visit the area or to open his or her eyes to the riches of their own environment.
Brian Macdonald has always had a deep love for the natural world: learning bird identification as a teenager from a superb teacher, county recorder and bird ringer; an appreciation of botany through training at Kew Gardens; and developing the interest in both as a warden of nature reserves in Oxfordshire. Living in Llanbedr since 1997, the rich landscape and wildlife of Meirionnydd has stimulated birding and botanising and developing interests and skills in wild food and fly-fishing. With experience of teaching and leading groups, Brian enjoys communicating his love of the rich wildlife and landscape of Meirionnydd, teaching skills and passing on the knowledge required for their appreciation.
Charles Tunnicliffe was raised on a small farm in Cheshire. The only son of hard-working country people, he was expected to take over his father's smallholding, but his precocious talent as an artist set him apart and instead of farming he took a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Art and came to London in 1920. After four years of intensive study, Tunniclifle set out to earn his living and soon made his mark as an etcher and wood-engraver. In 1932 came his first major success with his illustrated edition of Tarka the Otter by Henry Williamson. From this brilliant start, Tunnicliffe went on to illustrate dozens of books for well-known authors such as H. E. Bates, Alison Uttley, Negley Parson, Richard Church and many others. He also produced several classic books of his own: My Country Book, Mereside Chronicle and his masterpiece Shorelands Diary among them. Had Tunniclifte done nothing other than illustrate books, he would have rated high and his name would be remembered. But his achievement as a wildlife artist, and in particular a bird artist, is of major importance. Turning to the study of birds in the 1930s, he devoted months at a time, year in, year out, to observing and sketching his favourite species, first on the Cheshire meres and nearby moors, then in Anglesey, his home from 1947 to his death in 1979.
"[...] [This book] succeeds, as all such books should do, in conveying a strong sense of place with an underlying feel – and an obvious love – for this beautiful corner of Wales. As a bonus, it is illustrated with engravings by the great Charles Tunnicliffe [..]"
– Peter Marren, British Wildlife 28(4), April 2017