Wild urban waterways
When summer ends and many of our urban wildlife species are busily seeing off the last of the year's offspring, I love strolling along the Grand Union Canal near my west London home, to enjoy the evenings and watch the antics of the juvenile mallards and Canada geese.
It is particularly enjoyable because, along certain stretches of the canal, I hit upon beauty spots where the overhanging willows from the adjacent cemetery mask the fact that I am in the middle of London.
Instead of seeing the backs of the luxury flats that overlook the canal or a dilapidated industrial background, my urban world looks very different.
Moorhen, coot, mallard and Canada geese are a given. But I have also seen patrolling common terns and even a kingfisher perched on an overhang. Despite being man-made, canals can be exciting places.
I remember a late summer cruise on a narrowboat on the Manchester Ship Canal and watching lapwings and a solitary little ringed plover on the foreshore, while consorting on the open water with the mallards was a decidedly out-of-season male goldeneye.