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Nick Drayson

Nick Drayson completed a PhD in 19th century Australian natural history writing. His latest novel is A Guide to the Birds of East Africa (2008).

‘Letter from Sri Lanka’ by Nick Drayson

April 2005, no. 270 01 April 2005
With wings as black as night and breast as white as cloud, the sea eagle swooped from the sky. It snatched up the baby boy in front of his mother’s very eyes. She acted quickly. She grabbed a coconut shell and hurled it towards the bird. The baby dropped to the ground and landed unhurt on soft sand. But before she could reach it, the baby was gone, swept away by the tsunami. The eagle knew, you ... (read more)

Nick Drayson reviews ‘Australian Magpie: Biology and behaviour of an unusual songbird’ by Gisela Kaplan and ‘Kookaburra: King of the bush’ by Sarah Legge

March 2005, no. 269 01 March 2005
In the old days, it was easy. The eagle was a large bird with sharp talons for gripping and a hooked beak for tearing prey; the swallow was a fast-flying bird that left our shores each winter to seek warmer climes. But since Charles Darwin, we can’t say that anymore, because the very language of such descriptions implies purpose – either will (the swallow somehow knowing, planning, its migrati ... (read more)

Nick Drayson reviews 'Rifling Paradise' by Jem Poster

August 2006, no. 283 01 August 2006
I love travelling overseas. I like the whole flying thing: the taxi ride to the airport wondering what I forgot to pack, the queuing at check-in, the thrill of getting through security. Then there’s the flight itself. The rush of take-off, the first free drink, the little plastic tray with little plastic dishes and plastic knives and forks – just like a picnic in the clouds. Whether the destin ... (read more)