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First Time Birding in a While

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It's surprising how quickly the species of birds can change throughout the seasons. I haven't been birding in a few weeks now and when I arrived at Pagham Harbour nature reserve on Monday, after walking down to the start of the mudflats I was greeted with flocks of Wigeon and Teal, a real sign of the ever-approaching Winter. 

In the distance I just could about make out a flock of Avocet and Lapwing, flying back and forth. Walking back, I stopped off at the Ferry Pool hide, looking over the water, there were lots of Shelduck that were joined by more Wigeon and Teal. I could just about hear the high-pitched call of the Goldcrest just outside the hide, although it didn't make an appearance when I waited to try and get a photo. Also on the way back, a flock of Long-Tailed Tits made their appearance known with their 'pinging' call and a charm of goldfinch tried their best to fly against the relatively strong wind.

We then drove to Church Norton and sat on the beach for …

The People's Walk For Wildlife

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It's less than a week till the People's Walk for Wildlife in Hyde Park, London, led by Chris Packham. I will be attending for lots of different reasons, not only can we raise awareness for the many environmental issues that are affecting wildlife but we can catch the governments attention which could result in some much-needed action being taken. I'm going because I care about the massive declines in birds, mammals, insects and more in this country and I can't wait to walk with people who share the same passion as me.

This time 6 years ago I attended a talk by one of my inspirations, Chris Packham, and back then I could never have imagined knowing so many young people who love wildlife as much as I do and are striving to make sure our country is thriving with wildlife for future generations to enjoy.

6 years ago, when I became really interested in wildlife I thought I was one of the only young people who cared but now I will be able to walk with 100s. Here's a vide…

Fishlake Meadows, Hampshire

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On Wednesday I made the 2 hour train journey down to Romsey in Hampshire to meet up with Tom Saunders (@TommySaunders19) and walk around Fishlake Meadows nature reserve. After a short walk from the train station we made it to a viewpoint which looks over the lake.


From the viewpoint we could see a great crested grebe with chicks, greylag and canada geese and lots of hirundines. Then an adult hobby appeared in the distance, gracefully swooping in the air as it attempted to catch insects in flight. A few minutes later a huge white bird flew towards us and as it got closer it was clear it was a great white egret.


We then walked along the canal path and to our surprise a nightingale flew into some vegetation in front of us, giving brief views before disappearing. Further along the path, a kingfisher dived into the reeds and we could hear the squealing call of a water rail. Also we spotted a cormorant as it flew down onto the lake as well as a kestrel hovering in the sky. A cetti's war…

Bank holiday birding

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Ringing at Knepp
On Sunday I got up early, at 4:45, to go to Knepp estate for some ringing. After getting a lift with James McCulloch we arrived and walked to the site which was mainly scrub. The mist nets had already been set up and we could see lots and lots of birds in one of the nets. On the first net round we had a grasshopper warbler, a lifer for me which I wasn't expecting! Although I didn't get to ring it, it was amazing to see such a elusive bird so close up and be able to have a look at it in the hand.


We also caught two linnet, lots of whitethroat and lesser whitethroat. On the next net round a big flock of blue, great and long-tailed tit flew into one of the nets and after a lot of extracting we started to ring them all. Quite a few willow warblers and chiffchaffs were also caught. On one of the last net rounds it was nice to be able to ring a sedge warbler, my first of the year. 

Later on in the morning a group of people who were visiting Knepp came to see what bi…

Bird ringing session

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On Saturday I woke up early to go to Cissbury ring in Findon, West Sussex for a bird ringing session, my first in over a month. Arriving at around 6 I walked down the path to the site which is adjacent to farmland. Skylarks were singing, but the yellowhammers song was the loudest and a beautiful male was perched at the very top of the hedgerow.

After setting all the nets up and after a few net rounds, we were off to a good start, with quite a few birds being caught including this brightly coloured greenfinch.


Later on in the morning we caught a young great tit, robins, more greenfinches including a juvenile, whitethroats, young blackcaps, a treecreeper and the first lesser whitethroat of the year. It was interesting to see birds that were starting to moult and one that had finished moulting already. 


It was nice to have a ringing tick of a woodpigeon, which aren't the nicest birds to ring as they are surprisingly strong! Whilst there we saw 2 crossbill fly over, which were identif…

BTO Birdcamp 2018!

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Last weekend (25th-27th May) was BTO Bird Camp, sponsored by the Cameron Bespolka Trust, based at the Nunnery in Thetford, Norfolk.

Friday After having my final English literature exam and doing some last minute packing I was very grateful to be able to get a lift to the BTO headquarters with James (@My_Wild_Life). After 4 hours of travelling, due to the traffic, we finally arrived. The majority of people were already there, so it was great to be able to meet everyone I knew and had talked to over social media. After having dinner outside we headed into the nunnery, had an introduction about the weekend and learnt a bit about the Cameron Bespolka Trust. We were then put into small groups and were given cards of birds that needed to be matched up with their names. Also they had to be separated into species where the males and females had different or the same plumage. Our group did pretty well!

Next, we were given envelopes that contained pieces of paper which had written on them: caree…

A wildlife-filled weekend!

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Unfortunately its the end of the holidays and this weekend I made the most of the nice weather and went bird ringing as well as visiting RSPB Pulborough Brooks.
It was a 4:45 start on Saturday, arriving at Cissbury Ring as the sun was rising on the horizon. On the walk down past the fields a male yellowhammer sang loudly from the top of the hedgerow and numerous skylarks blurted out their song all around me. The thick fog magically seemed to clear as I arrived at the ringing site.

It was quiet bird wise, catching only 20 birds, including chiffchaffs, blackcaps, wrens, bullfinch and a willow warbler which was nice as I hadn't seen one yet this year. 

After hearing 8 ring ouzels had been reported at cissbury ring I decided to have a quick look on the walk back to the car. Luckily enough within 5 minutes I spotted 4 of them close together, hopping around and reappearing above the mounds as they were feeding. Surprisingly I had never seen a ring ouzel before so it was a lifer!

This m…