I'm very excited to present a guest blog from Stornoway frontman Brian Briggs -  and your chance to get a free download from the band's new album, Bonxie. I was fortunate enough to be invited to the album launch in London the other week and thought they were great. Not only that, Brian has also written a brilliant piece for April Nature's Home magazine. Don't miss his "Best day" on page 98.  Look out for the mag dropping on your doormat from mid April. Here's Brian...

Spring is here

Open your window at dawn or dusk this week and you can instantly hear that spring is here. I learnt the songs of a few common birds in my first real job, working as a field assistant in Wytham Woods in Oxfordshire, and it opened up a whole new dimension in the outside world.  Birds like wrens, chaffinches, robins and great tits are more easily heard than seen, but fortunately they all have distinctive songs that don't take much effort to learn. Once I began to recognise a few key phrases of the local characters I started to feel a little more part of the habitat and a little less like a tourist on my own patch.

 Tuning into the sonic landscape allows me to enjoy my time outdoors even more. As I wrote recently in The Guardian, I believe that if children were taught the language of our gardens and countryside from an early age they would grow up with a stronger appreciation of nature's importance to us.

Stornoway with Brian Briggs second from right.

I'm a life fellow of the RSPB and did my PhD on ducks in Oxford, during which I formed my band Stornoway.  I'm lucky to combine my two passions of birds and music, with the natural world forming an ever-present backdrop to our songs and lyrics.  Our new album 'Bonxie' is named after the Scottish term for a great skua, and it features field recordings from a variety of habitats, woven into the songs on the album.

Get a free download from Stornoway's new album!

Here's a free song from the album to download, so you can see how we’ve combined our love of nature and music. It is called 'Lost Youth' and I hope you enjoy it!