Episodes

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01Survival - The Essay20180507

Birdwatcher Tom McKinney reads Survival, the first of his essays on migration.

Essays from leading writers on arts, history, philosophy, science, religion and beyond

Musician, broadcaster and birdwatcher Tom McKinney reads Survival, his opening essay on bird migration and its fascination for bird lovers. Why do birds migrate? Why are some birds sedentary, moving only tiny distances throughout their entire life, and others willing to embark on such long journeys that involve enormously high levels of risk? In this series Tom considers the ways in which he has been affected by the sounds of birds and their astonishing annual migratory journeys.

In his first essay, Tom describes 'fall-out' - the mass arrival of tiny songbirds each year on the Texan Gulf coast. One of the most spectacular places to witness this phenomenon each April is at High Island near Galveston. Good habitat for food and shelter is sparse and in a bad year, hundreds of thousands of birds can die from exhaustion and dehydration.

Written and performed by Tom McKinney
Producer: Melanie Harris of Sparklab Productions
Photographer: Nick Appleton.

02Adventure - The Essay20180508

Birdwatcher Tom McKinney reads Adventure, the next in his series of essays on migration.

Essays from leading writers on arts, history, philosophy, science, religion and beyond

Musician, broadcaster and birdwatcher Tom McKinney reads Adventure, the next in his series of essays on bird migration and its fascination for bird lovers. Why do birds migrate? Why are some birds sedentary, moving only tiny distances throughout their entire life, and others willing to embark on such long journeys that involve enormously high levels of risk? In this series Tom considers the ways in which he has been affected by the sounds of birds and their astonishing annual migratory journeys.

Tom discusses 'sea-watching' in Cornwall: a form of Zen-birding in which days can be spent gazing through a telescope and seeing very little. He reflects on the spectacular and nonsensical migration of Sooty Shearwaters.

Written and performed by Tom McKinney
Producer: Melanie Harris of Sparklab Productions
Photographer: Nick Appleton.

03Seasons - The Essay20180509

Birdwatcher Tom McKinney reads Seasons, the next in his series of essays on migration.

Essays from leading writers on arts, history, philosophy, science, religion and beyond

Musician, broadcaster and birdwatcher Tom McKinney reads Seasons, the next in his series of essays on bird migration and its fascination for bird lovers. Why do birds migrate? Why are some birds sedentary, moving only tiny distances throughout their entire life, and others willing to embark on such long journeys that involve enormously high levels of risk? In this series Tom considers how he has been affected by the sounds of birds and by his observations of their astonishing annual migratory journeys. In this series Tom considers the ways in which he has been affected by the sounds of birds and their astonishing annual migratory journeys.

Tom describes how autumn only truly begins for him when skeins of Pink-footed Geese fly over his Pennine home and signal the change in light, foreshadowing shortening days, conkers and falling leaves.

Written and performed by Tom McKinney
Producer: Melanie Harris of Sparklab Productions
Photographer: Nick Appleton.

04Lifestyle - The Essay20180510

Birdwatcher Tom McKinney reads Lifestyle, the next in his series of essays on migration.

Essays from leading writers on arts, history, philosophy, science, religion and beyond

Musician, broadcaster and birdwatcher Tom McKinney reads Lifestyle, the next in his series of essays on bird migration and its fascination for bird lovers. Why do birds migrate? Why are some birds sedentary, moving only tiny distances throughout their entire life, and others willing to embark on such long journeys that involve enormously high levels of risk? In this series Tom considers how he has been affected by the sounds of birds and by his observations of their astonishing annual migratory journeys.

Tom began his birdwatching habit spotting a Little Egret at Rudyard Lake, in the Staffordshire Moorlands. His hobby has become a lifestyle, leading to strong friendships with groups of people from completely different backgrounds.

Written and performed by Tom McKinney
Producer: Melanie Harris of Sparklab Productions
Photographer: Nick Appleton.

05Obsession - The Essay20180511

Birdwatcher Tom McKinney reads Obsession, the final essay in his series on bird migration.

Essays from leading writers on arts, history, philosophy, science, religion and beyond

Musician, broadcaster and birdwatcher Tom McKinney reads Obsession, the final essay in his series on bird migration. Why do birds migrate? Why are some birds sedentary, moving only tiny distances throughout their entire life, and others willing to embark on such long journeys that involve enormously high levels of risk? In this series Tom considers how he has been affected by the sounds of birds and by his observations of their astonishing annual migratory journeys.

In this last essay, Tom discusses how his passion for birdwatching helped him through a dark period in his life.

Producer: Melanie Harris
Photographer: Nick Appleton.

01Survival20180507

Birdwatcher Tom McKinney reads Survival, the first of his essays on migration.

Essays from leading writers on arts, history, philosophy, science, religion and beyond

Musician, broadcaster and birdwatcher Tom McKinney reads Survival, his opening essay on bird migration and its fascination for bird lovers. Why do birds migrate? Why are some birds sedentary, moving only tiny distances throughout their entire life, and others willing to embark on such long journeys that involve enormously high levels of risk? In this series Tom considers the ways in which he has been affected by the sounds of birds and their astonishing annual migratory journeys.

In his first essay, Tom describes 'fall-out' - the mass arrival of tiny songbirds each year on the Texan Gulf coast. One of the most spectacular places to witness this phenomenon each April is at High Island near Galveston. Good habitat for food and shelter is sparse and in a bad year, hundreds of thousands of birds can die from exhaustion and dehydration.

Written and performed by Tom McKinney
Producer: Melanie Harris of Sparklab Productions.

Musician, broadcaster and birdwatcher Tom McKinney reads Survival, his opening essay on bird migration and its fascination for bird lovers. Why do birds migrate? Why are some birds sedentary, moving only tiny distances throughout their entire life, and others willing to embark on such long journeys that involve enormously high levels of risk? In this series Tom considers the ways in which he has been affected by the sounds of birds and their astonishing annual migratory journeys.

In his first essay, Tom describes 'fall-out' - the mass arrival of tiny songbirds each year on the Texan Gulf coast. One of the most spectacular places to witness this phenomenon each April is at High Island near Galveston. Good habitat for food and shelter is sparse and in a bad year, hundreds of thousands of birds can die from exhaustion and dehydration.

Written and performed by Tom McKinney
Producer: Melanie Harris of Sparklab Productions
Photographer: Nick Appleton.

02Adventure20180508

Birdwatcher Tom McKinney reads Adventure, the next in his series of essays on migration.

Essays from leading writers on arts, history, philosophy, science, religion and beyond

Musician, broadcaster and birdwatcher Tom McKinney reads Adventure, the next in his series of essays on bird migration and its fascination for bird lovers. Why do birds migrate? Why are some birds sedentary, moving only tiny distances throughout their entire life, and others willing to embark on such long journeys that involve enormously high levels of risk? In this series Tom considers the ways in which he has been affected by the sounds of birds and their astonishing annual migratory journeys.

Tom discusses 'sea-watching' in Cornwall: a form of Zen-birding in which days can be spent gazing through a telescope and seeing very little. He reflects on the spectacular and nonsensical migration of Sooty Shearwaters.

Written and performed by Tom McKinney
Producer: Melanie Harris of Sparklab Productions
Photographer: Nick Appleton.

03Seasons20180509

Birdwatcher Tom McKinney reads Seasons, the next in his series of essays on migration.

Essays from leading writers on arts, history, philosophy, science, religion and beyond

Musician, broadcaster and birdwatcher Tom McKinney reads Seasons, the next in his series of essays on bird migration and its fascination for bird lovers. Why do birds migrate? Why are some birds sedentary, moving only tiny distances throughout their entire life, and others willing to embark on such long journeys that involve enormously high levels of risk? In this series Tom considers how he has been affected by the sounds of birds and by his observations of their astonishing annual migratory journeys. In this series Tom considers the ways in which he has been affected by the sounds of birds and their astonishing annual migratory journeys.

Tom describes how autumn only truly begins for him when skeins of Pink-footed Geese fly over his Pennine home and signal the change in light, foreshadowing shortening days, conkers and falling leaves.

Written and performed by Tom McKinney
Producer: Melanie Harris of Sparklab Productions
Photographer: Nick Appleton.

04Lifestyle20180510

Birdwatcher Tom McKinney reads Lifestyle, the next in his series of essays on migration.

Essays from leading writers on arts, history, philosophy, science, religion and beyond

Musician, broadcaster and birdwatcher Tom McKinney reads Lifestyle, the next in his series of essays on bird migration and its fascination for bird lovers. Why do birds migrate? Why are some birds sedentary, moving only tiny distances throughout their entire life, and others willing to embark on such long journeys that involve enormously high levels of risk? In this series Tom considers how he has been affected by the sounds of birds and by his observations of their astonishing annual migratory journeys.

Tom began his birdwatching habit spotting a Little Egret at Rudyard Lake, in the Staffordshire Moorlands. His hobby has become a lifestyle, leading to strong friendships with groups of people from completely different backgrounds.

Written and performed by Tom McKinney
Producer: Melanie Harris of Sparklab Productions
Photographer: Nick Appleton.

05 LASTObsession20180511

Birdwatcher Tom McKinney reads Obsession, the final essay in his series on bird migration.

Essays from leading writers on arts, history, philosophy, science, religion and beyond

Musician, broadcaster and birdwatcher Tom McKinney reads Obsession, the final essay in his series on bird migration. Why do birds migrate? Why are some birds sedentary, moving only tiny distances throughout their entire life, and others willing to embark on such long journeys that involve enormously high levels of risk? In this series Tom considers how he has been affected by the sounds of birds and by his observations of their astonishing annual migratory journeys.

In this last essay, Tom discusses how his passion for birdwatching helped him through a dark period in his life.

Producer: Melanie Harris
Photographer: Nick Appleton.