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 American…

Designing a Bird-Friendly Garden Landscape

If you are designing your garden to create a really bird-friendly landscape then there are a number of factors to take into account. The aim is to recreate the natural landscape where the birds live, as far as possible, so they feel at home in your habitat. Try heading out to a park or natural…

The benefits of ‘curtain twitching’

We all have days when everything feels like just a little bit too much: like myriad tasks are mounting up uncontrollably while motivation [and self-worth] are cascading downwards. Slumps and spells of low creativity as we bemoan mounting pressures but do little to combat them due to persistent, nagging and quite frankly, irritating, doubts. Yes,…

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…

Top 10 Facts: Willow Tit

Late discovery. The Willow Tit and the much more abundant Marsh tit are incredibly difficult to tell apart, even by professional birders. They are so similar, in fact, that they were once mistakenly believed to be a single species. Indeed, the Willow Tit was the last regular British breeding bird to be identified – only…

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 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…

Birders Behaving Badly

By large, birders are a nice bunch and bad behaviour and poor etiquette among devotees is, thankfully, rather scarce – though this does not mean it does not occur. Many of those boasting a penchant for the hobby will have witnessed such behaviour, the practice of tape luring birds during the breeding season for example,…

North of England Curlew Festival: Some Thoughts

This Saturday past, myself, Sacha and Matt had the pleasure to attend the first and hopefully, annual, North of England Curlew Festival. Taking place at Bolton Castle, the event comprised a series of intriguing talks – regarding everything from Curlew conservation to fundraising and research – as well as activities designed to bring guests closer to…

Here’s why I, personally, watch birds

My attention was recently drawn to an interesting article authored for The Conversation by the esteemed and eloquent Dr Robert Lambert. Centred on the logic behind birding (or twitching, if you prefer), I found the piece highly interesting, both as a birder who spends a great deal of his time observing our feathered friends and as an…