J.A. Baker set off to track peregrine falcons across his native Essex, little knowing how deeply involved he would become with the magnificent birds of prey. Painstaking observation and imitation of the majestic birds’ hunting routes leads, eventually, to a kind of mystical transformation, writer in some sense becoming bird: ‘we are the killers. We stink of death. We carry it with us. It sticks to us like frost. We cannot tear it away.’ Nature writer Mark Cocker writes in his introduction to this new edition, expanded with Baker’s other prose, that The Peregrine is ‘the gold standard for all nature writing and…it transcends even this species of praise.’

Harper Collins/paperback/£12.99/9780007395903

Dan Eltringham