I began birdwatching at the age of nine when living on the Isle of Wight. After obtaining a copy of the Isle of Wight Bird Report from 1976 I realised that Manx Shearwater, Arctic Skua, Pomarine Skua and Black Tern were regularly seen at St.Catherine's Point, only five miles from my home village of Chale Green. To a nine year old these birds were near mythical and so I just had to go and try to see them. Little did I know that these birds were seasonal and after a long winter of seeing nothing I eventually started to bump into other birdwatchers as March drew to a close. It was then that Dave Hunnybun, Dave Wooldridge, Paul Castle, Peter Gandy and Audrey Wilkinson introduced me to the art of seawatching and the joys of bird migration, I have not looked back since.
From here I began to meet other birders from the 'mainland' and Pete Durnell, Pete Potts, Pete Gammage, Trevor Codlin and Keith Turner introduced me to the joys of twitching and birding abroad. My twitching 'career' was relatively short and after experiencing large twitches such as that for the Golden-winged Warbler in Kent and the Red-breasted Nuthatch in Norfolk I realised that crowds were not for me and quickly shunned twitching for the far more honourable pastime of looking for my own rares. However, I became an enthusiastic foreign birder and have subsequently travelled to the following countries/locations:
Alaska, Arizona, California, New York, Mexico, Costa Rica, Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Tierra del Fuego.
Cuba and Jamaica.
Europe and The Middle East
Iceland, Finland, France, Portugal, Cyprus, Crete, Spain, Israel, Yemen and Socotra, Italy and Norway.
Africa and Indian Ocean
Morocco, Gambia, Ethiopia, Gabon, Principe, Sao Tome, Cameroon, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Kenya, South Africa, Madagascar, Mauritius, Reunion and Seychelles.
Asia and Indonesia
Mongolia, China (south-east), Mongolia, Tibet, Malaysia, Thailand, Borneo, Sulawesi, India, Kashmir, Halmahera, Flores, Sumba, Sumbawa, Ambon and Tanimbar.
Papua New Guinea, Antarctica, Australia, Fiji and New Caledonia.
I now live in Romsey in Hampshire with my wife Sarah and son Tobias born on 4th April 2013. My local patches are Pennington and Keyhaven Marshes and the New Forest, when Hampshire based, and sites on the Penwith Peninsula (Cot Valley, Pendeen Watch, Porthgwarra etc) when Cornwall based. In 2015 we purchased and renovated a house in Cowley, Cheltenham and I plan to explore the birding sites in Gloucestershire a little more. I also have my own 'proper' local patch which is a short walk from my house and consists of the flood meadows adjacent to the River Test although I have somewhat neglected this since 2014. I am also a keen moth'er and run a garden moth trap in Romsey, St.Ives and Cowley, near to Cheltenham.
There was a time that due to my work load my time in the field was limited and hence the name of my Blog! However, since the birth of Tobias and the development of my business I have been able to ease off work, which became an unhealthy 24/7 obsession, to spend more time in the field. So, I guess, the name of the Blog is not that relevant any longer but its staying for now.
The aim of my Blog is to provide an account of my time birding, almost a replacement to my neglected notebook as well as posting some of my photos from previous trips from my ever expanding library as and when time permits.
My birding kit currently includes:
- Swarovski 10x32 EL Binoculars
- Swarovski ATX 85 Telescope
Canon Camera Kit
- Canon 1DX Mark II SLR
- Canon 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 Mark II
- Canon 400mm F4 DO Mark II
- Gitzo tripod and monopod
Olympus Camera Kit
- Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II
- Olympus M.Zuiko ED 300mm IS Pro Lens
- Olympus M.Zuiko 40-150mm Pro Lens
- Olympus M.Zuiko 60mm f2.8 Macro Lens
- Olympus MC 1.4x Teleconverter
My favourite photography combination was the Canon 1DX Mark II and 400DO Mark II with a 1.4x extender combination but this is now (July 2018) becoming replaced with the Olympus E-M1 and the Olympus 300mm with 1.4 teleconverter. This can easily be carried when also carrying a scope - its a great set-up but I am still learning how to use it, its a steep learning curve after 20 odd years using Canon gear.
Photographs on this Blog
Some of the posts on this Blog will feature photographs taken by others and sourced from the web, where used I will always provide a full credit and a link to the photographers website where available. However, if you see a photograph of yours that I have used and you are unhappy with this then please email me on firstname.lastname@example.org and I will remove it immediately.