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.

Thursday 14 September 2017


It has taken my a while to get to this landmark, but having crept towards it for some months I finally got there with the Baird's Sandpiper at Cuckmere Haven two weeks ago.

It was a nice bird to get to the magic number, and was easy to see, with only a short walk. It was also made enjoyable by the company – birding mate Matt Phelps arrived at the same time as me and so it was good to catch up with him, as it was with Paul Cox, someone I'd not seen since the Red-backed Shrike at Hayes in 2012!

Baird's Sandpiper at Cuckmere Haven
And if there is one thing about birding I enjoy as much as the bird watching itself is having banter with a few mates while doing it. I don't get out as much these days, so it was a welcome distraction from everyday life.

A much better photo of the Baird's Sandpiper digiscoped by Matt Phelps
So the Baird's Sandpiper wandered about a bit, fed a bit, rested a bit. It was a tad distant for decent photos but not to worry.

So, looking back at the 300 bird species seen over the years I was daydreaming earlier today and thought I'd list my favourite birds in that list.

Completely off the top of my head, they would be:
Bee-eater, Nightingale, Pallid Harrier, Pomarine Skua, Red-backed Shrike, Redstart, Ring Ouzel, Roller, Short-eared Owl, Wryneck.

The birds that were the biggest pain in the arse to see were:
Baillion's Crake at Rainham, Hudsonian Whimbrel at Church Norton (may not even be relevant now either), Marsh Warbler at Rainham Marshes.

The most fleeting and therefore least satisfying birds to see were:
Ortolan Bunting at Beachy Head
Purple Heron at Lodmoor

Next comes the birds still missing from the list I should have seen by now. No excuses. Anyway, here's my list of shame:
Cirl Bunting, Honey-buzzard, Pink-footed Goose, Puffin, Purple Sandpiper, Storm Petrel, Willow Tit, Yellow-browed Warbler. Plus all the Scottish birds (not traveled there since 1972). There you go, I've said it now!


  1. Nice pics of the Baird's Sandpiper Neil.
    Ironically most of your un-seen birds are some that I've not seen, while your favourites also include mine!
    I just can't get the seabirds!

  2. I have been there two to three times before but I haven't seen the bird any time I was there. Well it was nice to see the pictures that you have captured there.