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 (two trips to Para and Toncantins and then to Rhondonia and Acre), Peru (x2), Bolivia, Chile, Tierra del Fuego, Ecuador, Galapagos Islands, Colorado.
Cuba and Jamaica.
Europe and The Middle East
United Kingdom, Iceland, Finland, France, Portugal, Cyprus (southern and northern), Crete, Spain, Israel, Yemen and Socotra, Italy, Norway, Canary Islands (Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Fueteventura, Lanzarote and La Gomera), Georgia and Turkey.
Africa and Indian Ocean
Morocco, Gambia, Ethiopia, Gabon, Principe, Sao Tome, Cameroon, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Kenya, South Africa, Madagascar, Maldives, Mauritius, Reunion, Seychelles and Ghana.
Asia and Indonesia
Mongolia, China (south-east), Tibet, Malaysia, Thailand, Borneo, Sulawesi, India, Kashmir, Halmahera, Bali, Flores, Sumba, Sumbawa, Ambon, Tanimbar, South Korea and Taiwan.
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 continue to explore the birding sites in Gloucestershire. 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 was always 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. Since 2019 I have been an avid eBird user and subsequently my blog has become a little secondary to eBird and generally presents a briefer summary of my birding. I have started adding eBird links to my blog posts to make my birding record more comprehensive. During the 2020-2021 Covid-19 lockdown my project was to enter all my historic birding records to eBird, I completed this project in February 2021 with all my records back to 1981 added. I found this a fascinating project going over historic birding days in the UK and working through foreign trips. Now that this project is just about complete I have all my sightings, photos and sound recordings at my fingertips on eBird so that I can see exactly where I have seen each species, the number of times and locations that I have recorded that species and whether I have photographed or sound recorded it. My eBird profile can be seen here:
Since 2019 I have become eBird regional reviewer for Cornwall, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight and sit on the Isle of Wight Ornithological Group rarities committee.
Ecuador March 2019
Shetland - 2021
My birding kit currently includes:
- Swarovski 10x32 NL Pure Binoculars
- Swarovski ATX 85 Telescope
Olympus Camera Kit
- Olympus OM-1 Camera
- Olympus M.Zuiko 150-400mm ED F4.5 TC1.25x IS PRO Lens
- Olympus M.Zuiko 40-150mm Pro Lens
- Olympus M.Zuiko 60mm f2.8 Macro Lens
- Olympus MC 1.4x Teleconverter
- Olympus MC 2x Teleconverter
- Gitzo tripod and monopod
Until 2019, my favourite photography combination was the Canon 1DX Mark II and Canon 400mm DO Mark II with a 1.4x extender combination but in December 2019 I sold all of my Canon kit. I replaced this with the Olympus kit with the OM-1 being my main camera and the Olympus 150-400mm with built in 1.25 converter giving an effective range of 300-1000mm at F4.5. This can easily be carried when also carrying a scope - its a great set-up.
Photographs on this Blog
Some of the posts on this Blog may 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.