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…

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 fruition, but there are still a good number around. Hundreds, as opposed to thousands, yet more…

7 of the Best Birding Tours with Local Wildlife Specialists

Doñana Delights Tour – Inglorious Bustards Boasting a truly remarkable mosaic of habitats, ranging from Stone Pine woodland and open grassland to sprawling marshlands, the Coto Doñana makes for some of the most diverse birdwatching in Europe. In the Coto del Rey area, visitors have the chance to encounter the mighty Spanish Imperial Eagle, as…

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 mile…

Top Birdwatching Destinations in Europe

From the towering peaks of the Pyrenees and the frozen forests of Oulu, in Finland, to the snow-capped Carpathian Mountains of Slovakia, there is exceptional birdlife to enjoy at myriad sites in each and every corner of Europe. All of which are worth considering before you jet off to the opposite side of the world…

The Best UK Locations for Winter Bird Spotting

A useful guide for making the most of winter birding this year. Winter is a fantastic time for UK birders, as the most interesting species flock together in spectacular numbers. Migrant birds from as far as Russia have been known to make an appearance in parts of England and Wales, which is quite the treat…

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…

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…

Catering for Garden Birds: A how-to guide

Given the state of the wider countryside and the impact of habitat loss, development and changes in land-use upon bird communities never has it been more important to take proper care of the populations residing in our gardens. Contrary to popular belief, it is vital that we cater for them year-round, not just in Winter,…

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…

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 invasion…