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The Alphabet of Animals: P–T

A colourful selection in this week’s round-up of wildlife poems.

Inspired by his wildlife photos, author and nature writer Mike Unwin has been making the most of his lockdown time by creating some wonderful little alphabet poems.

P is for… Plumed basilisk

Plumed basilisk Mike Unwin
Photographed in Arenal Volcano National Park, Costa Rica, 2012, with Virgin Holidays

P is for plumed basilisk: yes, just a lizard
But blessed with the magical powers of a wizard
A bow and a flourish and then, just to please us
It runs across water – a green, scaly Jesus

Q is for… Quail

Quail Mike Unwin
Photographed in Baja California, Mexico, 2017, with Naturetrek

Q is for quail – Californian kind
It’s chosen a challenging place to unwind
Though some find it painful to perch on a cactus
This bird has a nest so it’s trying to distract us

R is for… Red-eyed tree frog

Red-eyed tree frog Mike Unwin
Photographed on Barro Colorado Island, Panama, 2016, with Naturetrek

R is a species of tree frog: red-eyed
Did I promise there’d be no amphibians? I lied
For cute little frogs, I have zero resistance
Though this one’s not yet understood social distance

S is for… scarlet macaw

Scarlet macaw Mike unwin
Photographed in Chiquibul National Park, Belize, 2019, with Steppes Travel

S is a squadron of scarlet macaws
Performing manoeuvres to rounds of applause
Then settling down in the tops of the trees
Deep in the forests of deepest Belize.

T is for… turtle

Green turtle Mike Unwin
Photographed at Raz al Jinz, Oman, 2019, with Stubborn Mule Travel

T is for turtle – a green one, on land
After laying its eggs in a hole in the sand
It must haul itself back down the beach to the sea
The place where a turtle would usually be

Discover more of Mike’s daily poems on his Instagram.

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