Enjoying a waif from the East

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of catching up with the long-staying male Black-throated Thrush at Whipsnade Zoo, in Bedfordshire (a long way from home for this Geordie). Enjoying a scarce bird is always a pleasure but, I confess, the experience of observing just such a lost waif in the company of free-ranging South AmericanContinue reading “Enjoying a waif from the East”

Winter wildlife doesn’t come much better than this

It’s shaping up to be a good year for Bohemian Waxwings (Bombycilla garrulus). Sure, the much anticipated ‘waxwing winter’ – an irregular spectacle marked by the mass arrival of these colourful birds to our shores – never quite came to fruition, but there is still a good number around. Hundreds, as opposed to thousands, yetContinue reading “Winter wildlife doesn’t come much better than this”

A once in a lifetime encounter

Before yesterday commenced, I had only seen three Red-necked Grebes in my lifetime. Two as distant apparitions amid undulating heat haze on a vast swath of Estonian marshland, and the other, as an equally uninspiring spec on the horizon here in the UK. The latter being tossed astray by the tide around half a mileContinue reading “A once in a lifetime encounter”

Advice from a not so Expert Birder, a guest post by Liam Thompson

I don’t know about you, but whenever I talk to a birder with decades of experience I leave the conversation with two feelings. First: admiration, for their ability to confidently identify any species by call or the slightest glimpse. This feeling is surpassed, however, by the disappointment at realising I may never reach their levelContinue reading “Advice from a not so Expert Birder, a guest post by Liam Thompson”

The eye of the beast

I dislike our tendency to name storms and weather fronts almost as much as I dislike our habit of blowing such things entirely out of proportion in this country. Often panicking without justification when snowflakes fall and temperatures decline ever so slightly. That said, the Beast from the East, as it has been labelled byContinue reading “The eye of the beast”

RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch – My Results

There is still time this weekend to take part in the RSPB’s annual Big Garden Birdwatch – a fabulous (and fun) scheme which contributes greatly to the knowledge surrounding our garden birds. Highlighting current trends, increases, decreases and eruptions in avian populations through the power of citizen science. To take part, you only need aContinue reading “RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch – My Results”

Enjoying this Autumn’s must see spectacle

Unless you have been living under a rock, or are simply disinterested in this sort of thing, you will surely have heard by now that this Autumn has seen an unprecedented number of Hawfinch arriving in the UK. Indeed, at present, Britain appears full to bursting with these usually scarce, cherry-stone splitting finches – the invasionContinue reading “Enjoying this Autumn’s must see spectacle”