It's quite a difficult task to review this one as it's a series of essays that the author has written and I'm not very good at reviewing essays. So, let's see... Kathleen Jamie lives somewhere in Fife, in Scotland. She lectures in creative writing at St. Andrew's University and is also a poet. In her spare time she has a huge interest in wildlife, particularly birds, and travels around Scotland, seeking out beautiful places and the wildlife that makes those places special. Thus, we see her going to see the salmon trying to get upstream on the Braan river in the Highlands and discovering rather a sad secret about them. She also travels extensively around the Hebrides, exploring islands and looking for oddities such as the skeleton of a gannet's head but finding instead a whale's scapula. She sees and is saddened by how inhabited these islands once were, and now are not, after the Highland clearances of course.
Close to where the author lives are the nests of peregrine falcons and ospsreys and on one memorable occasion she sees a crane flying overhead. Her observations of these beautiful birds make for delightful reading. Also enjoyable to read about was her trip to the Hebridean island of Coll to try and see the elusive corncrake. These birds were once commonplace on mainland Britain but were wiped out by new farming practises sixty or seventy years ago.
One section that didn't work for me was that of her visit to The Royal College of Surgeons to see the Surgeon's Hall and its exhibits. Some of them were rather strange, almost macabre, not that I was bothered by it, just not terribly interested. Another departure from wildlife was her look at the skyline of Edinburgh from atop one of its high buildings. Even though I've never been to that city I found that very interesting and it made me wish I had been to what is surely a very beautiful and historic city. One day, hopefully.
I tend to find that my enjoyment of books about wildlife depends almost entirely on the writing. They can be quite dull if handled wrongly but some authors seem to have the knack of making anything interesting and such is the case with Kathleen Jamie's Findings. The writing is just gorgeous and I was transported all over Scotland by the beautiful descriptions and almost 'wistful' writing. And yet it's not sentimental at all. The author is totally realistic about the way things are in nature and what we have done to either help or hinder our native wildlife. A gorgeous book and there is now a sequel, Sightlines, which I have reserved from the library,