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 level…

Glossy Ibis and more

  Spring has sprung, at long last. And all about my local area, the sapphire blooms of English bluebell mingle with the garish, Simpson-yellow of lesser celandine and the pristine white of flowering wood anemone. The air encompassing them ripe with the stench of ramsons carried on the breeze and nearby waterways – the ponds, streams…

Magnificent Frigatebird – Sabrina Salome

In every way, the Magnificent Frigatebird lives up to its name. This bird does not produce any of the waterproofing oils that other sea-faring birds possess; a submerged frigatebird will drown, and never can it land at sea. Yet the frigatebird enjoys a diet of fish. How? If you’re a gull, it’s bad news to…

Northumberland’s Wild Interior

Uncharacteristically, I haven’t managed many far-flung ventures of late – the combined result of some drastic life changes, a busy schedule and the build-up of myriad more menial tasks. This, of course, has frustrated me to no end, boiling over with a snap decision this past Saturday to drop everything and travel outwards: inland to…

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 by…

Winter walking at Bakethin

Bakethin, located a short-way upstream of Kielder Reservoir, is unique among nature reserves in Northumberland. Here, among the hulking frames of aged firs and a forest floor dominated by mossy knolls and straggly Bilberry, it is quite possible to pretend you are elsewhere: to imagine yourself strolling through the wilds of Scandinavia or Canada. The…

The gift of birdsong

Excluding those closest to me, not many people will know that for seven years now I have been living with a severe hearing impairment. Partial deafness caused as a result of numerous ear infections as a child. Infections which lead, first, to several attempts to install grommets during my younger years and later, at 17, a…

Birding in Northumberland 2017: the highlights

Now, this is a post for the avian-inclined individuals out there… For those of you who didn’t know, I set myself a challenge at the start of 2017. One which would see me attempt to glimpse as many bird species as possible in my home county over the course of a single year. No easy…

Report reveals the impact of climate change on UK birds

The distribution, numbers and behaviour of birds in the UK are changing because of a changing climate according to a new report. Many rare breeding birds are at a high risk of extinction in the UK, based on projections of how climate will become less suitable for these species in the future; while warming temperatures have provided…

Initial steps taken to combat Puffin declines

The RSPB’s Project Puffin has taken the first steps towards solving the mystery of why some puffin colonies in the UK are in dramatic decline. To do this, RSPB scientists analysed more than 1400 photos sent in by the public, helping them to build a better picture of what these iconic seabirds are feeding their…

Bittern Numbers Boom Once Again

Numbers of one of the UK’s most scarce and elusive birds, the Bittern Botaurus stellaris, have increased dramatically during recent years. Once considered extinct across the country, conservationists now believe that the UK population of these enigmatic herons has reached an all-time high: with a minimum of 164 booming males recorded at 71 sites, compared to…

Urban birding in Benidorm (and Calpe)

Another week, another adventure, this time to the tourist hotspot and renowned centre of debauchery that is Benidorm. A location I first visited on a family getaway two years ago that, much to my surprise, I found to be a rather fantastic spot for some urban wildlife watching. Well, fast forward a couple of years…