Welcome to my blog. If you live in Surrey and birding is your obsession (to get out of bed at some ridiculously early time of the morning, no matter what the weather, to go and look at birds isn't normal behaviour, believe me) and you're still a bit of a novice (like me) then, hopefully, this blog is for you.

Friday 24 October 2014


I've desperately been hoping to write a blog post about the autumn migration and how wonderful a spectacle it has been to see 500-plus Ring Ouzels heading south, as well as an abundance of other fabulous migratory birds this autumn.

I wanted to write something positive and enlightening about birds flying above our heads and landing in our area.

But I can't, because I haven't see any.

I can safely say this autumn has been the most frustrating, unsatisfying experience I have had birding-wise because I haven't managed to spend any time in the past three weeks out in the field.

There have so many places I have wanted to visit but I've been committed to other stuff – family, home and work – and the experience has forced me to recalibrate what I can gain from this hobby so that I don't go half mad with despair in future.

Birding is seasonal just like other favourite pursuits, like football or motorsport. But the difference is you have to wait nearly a year to try and experience what you missed at certain times of the year.

The problem I have is that my busiest work patterns coincide with peak times in the birding year. October is one of my hectic months, and unfortunately it's one of the very best months of the year for birding.

I'm less busy in June and July, and the birding gods deem that period also to be quiet.

Unless I am in the favourable postion where I can retire a wealthy man – not going to happen any time soon – then it will always be thus.

So what can I do?

To be honest, very little apart from enjoy the moments as and when they come. OK, I've not seen one single Ring Ouzel this year, which saddens me greatly, and I know I'm rapidly running out of time to see Red-breasted Flycatcher (there happens to be one hanging on at Beachy Head at the moment) and all the Yellow-browed Warblers presently dotted around the country. Sometime, surely, in the next week I will find a few hours to go looking.

I work in London quite a bit at the moment but I still haven't caught up with the Yellow-browed Warbler at Regents Park. I may go today if it doesn't rain (the forecast doesn't look good and I have to pick up my car from the garage before work so I can't see it happening). There's also the moulting White-winged Black Tern at Rye, the Siberian Stonechat at Titchfield Haven in Hampshire and the Long-eared Owl at Elmley Marshes on Sheppey.

If I can eventually see one or a couple of these in the coming days (Monday is the only real window at the moment) it will at least keep me going for a while.

I just need some time...

1 comment:

  1. Neil, I think you need to keep local and find the pleasures in doing so, until such time as you can visit the coast with some degree of freedom. Granted, the birding won't be full of rarity, but that is relative - a Pallas's Warbler is very common in some parts of the world, after all! Holmethorpe has bags of potential and is a stroll from your home. Embrace it!