A New Year


2019 is the year that Chickbooks starts up on its own. I had seven books published by Langford Press and after Ian died and the his publishing company stopped trading I had only one choice which was to go it alone. I was always going to do a book in Ian’s memory and I asked wildlife artists who had been printed by Ian to contribute one picture for the book. Some declined, some dropped out at the last minute and so after nearly a year in getting the paintings together I am finally ready to print.

A big THANK YOU to all the artists that contributed.

I picked the title of the book from many species that Ian had enjoyed over the years with possible Hen Harriers, Bee-eaters and Kites all possible. Ian fed the birds in his garden and every time I stayed with him one species was always there – The Starling! They loved his fat balls.

Living so close to the famous Gretna Starling roost which people from all over Britain used to come and see the bird was also close to my heart. I used to go with my son Ewan to watch them as so many birds of prey made the spectacle so much more than a large number of birds going to roost. Their murmurations were famous and often ended up in newspapers and on the TV as the birds of prey made the flocks do some amazing aerial manoeuvres creating shapes often of animals or human objects if you were faster enough to catch them on camera.

Sadly the large Gretna roost is no more with a small roost on the English side in 2018 only lasting 3 weeks. Birds moved to Rigg close by in the 2010 period and even into the industrial estate at Kingstown in 2014 where we watched from the pavement before they landed in Leylandii close to a wagon company which had to keep cleaning its vehicles! It was here when I named my Starling as we were watching the birds and I said I wanted to write a children’s book on the species. ‘What would I call the bird’ with the answer coming straight back from my friend Guy – Joseph!!

So that was how the book was named and I wrote the main part of the story in 2014 adding and removing bits when needed. I could write a lot more but I wanted to try and keep in line with how Ian presented the books. The only difference is that I will move to soft back giving more chance to publish more books keeping the price of production down.

So fingers crossed for 2019 and hopefully many more books to come.

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