Friday, 20 May 2011

Also goodbye

Hey everyone,

I should also say goodbye as I recently turned 21.  It has been fun being able to contribute to this blog, taking part in the listing competition and reading about what you guys on the other side of the pond are seeing.  I will keep tabs on the blog, check in on what new posts are up, etc, but this is my final post as a blog member here.

Keep in touch everyone. I hope to be able to meet all of you someday, sometime or another.
If you're ever up my way, please let me know. I'd be more than happy to show ya around.

Happy Birding and safe travels to you all.

Signing off,
--Chris W, Madison, Wisconsin, USA.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011


Hi all young birders,

This is just a quick post to let you know I am giving up on the young birders blog.

I am sure Joseph would appreciate any help if you would like to become part of the admin team.  I was going to resign soon anyway due to the fact I am 20 in December of this year. I hope I have served you all well during my time as admin of the blog.


Andrew Kinghorn

Thursday, 6 January 2011



Species highlighted in:
Red - Are 'MEGAS', which are exceptionally rare birds.
Orange - Are birds that are classed as "Rare"
Blue - Are birds that are classed as "Scarce"
Normal - Are birds that are classed as "Common"

This colour coding goes by national ranking, not local.

1) - United States of America - Caleb Frome ~ Total: 190

Highlights: Red-Throated LoonRed-Cockaded Woodpecker (endangered species),
Pacific LoonKing RailGlossy IbisPrairie WarblerGray Jay, Chestnut-Collared Longspur, Nelson’s Sparrow, Seaside Sparrow, Purple Finch

2) - United States of America - John Shamgochian ~ Total: 94
Highlights: American Woodcock, Redhead, Bald Eagle, Purple Finch, Merlin, Harlequin Duck, Black-headed Gull, Glaucous Gull,Common Raven, Green-tailed Towhee, Peregrine Falcon, Short-eared Owl, Fox Sparrow, Brown Creeper, Winter Wren, Common Redpoll, Pileated Woodpecker, Red-shouldered Hawk and Great Horned Owl.

3) - United Kingdom - 'Birding Joe' ~ Total: 35


Year Listing Competition 2010 - Winners!!

Hello everyone,

I have received just 1 email prior to the closure of the year listing competition with updates. So therefore I can reveal the winners for the 2010 year listing competition

Winner Overall:

Tucker Lutter with a total of: 404!

Congratulations Tucker Lutter from the United States of America for winning the young birders year listing 
competition overall.


Winner from USA:

Tucker Lutter with a total of: 404!

Congratulations again Tucker Lutter from the United States of America for winning the young birders year listing 
competition overall.

Winner from UK:

Andrew Kinghorn with a total of: 266!

I was quite happy with my total, especailly for the UK, I doubt I will have many years quite like the birding year I had in 2010.

 Happy New Year to all young birders
on behalf of the Young Birders Admin.

Details on 2011 year listing competition to follow soon.

Totals for the year in 2010 can be seen HERE, from now on it will remain unaltered unless someone would like me to change something. Unfortunately what can't be altered are the totals because the winners have been announced and this will not be changed.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Year Listing Competition 2010 - Nearly at the End

Hello everyone,

            As you all know we are nearing the end of 2010 and therefore nearing the end of the yearling competition. In 2011 their will be a year listing competition that takes place and as usual if you would like to be included then just drop me or Joseph and email on:

Therefore I request that all updates for the 2010 year listing are in before midnight on Friday the 31st of December 2010. I will announce the winners in a blog post, however to make it interesting there will be 3 winners:
- 1 winner for the overall competition
- 1 winner for the United States of America (USA)
- 1 winner for the United Kingdom (UK)

I have not included any other countries because in 2010 nobody from outside Europe or the USA has entered, I will do the same next year unless some other birders join in and they are from different countries in which case they can be added.

The rules for end of year winners for 2011 will perhaps be revised next year so that other birders can join in and perhaps have a chance of winning. HOWEVER myself and Joseph will put up some rules for this if any are changed.

Happy birding,

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Caada Trip-15 August-3 September

American Robin-16 Sep

Chestnut-sided Warbler-16 Sep

American Black Duck-18 Sep
Sora-30 Sep 2010

Ring-billed Gull, 1 Sep 2010 (with Niagara Falls behind!)
another Ring-billed Gull at Niagara
Red-eyed vireo, 30 Aug 2010
Black-throated Blue Warbler, 30 Aug 2010
Sharp-shinned Hawk, 31 Aug 2010
American Woodcock, 2 Sep 2010
and a Great Big effin Black Bear! on 25 Aug 2010
all the birds in the hand were at Long Point Bird Observatory, an area my dad knows well from several previous visits in the 80's and 90's.  Most of the other photos are taken in Ontario, apart from the Chestnut-sided Warbler, which i photographed on our 5-day stay in Quebec. I saw 126 species overall, and 98 Lifers!
for write-ups of the trip, see here, or here for a brief overview.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Update Year Listing Competition

Hi folks,

For thoose of us who are fartunate enough to have had a summer break off from Univeristy, College, Work, or School might have seen some new birds for their year list.

So if you have some updates and would like your list to be updated then please don't hesitate to get in touch through the email address that can be found on the right hand side of this page.

If you would like to see current lists and numbers of species seen then see here:

Andrew K
& Joseph N

ps. Joeseph's last post was the 200th post on this blog! Please feel free to contribute as much as you like folks.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

My Ramblings with my New Canon EOS 40D and Canon 400mm lens

A couple of weeks back I was very fortunate to have the money to purchase my first ever DSLR camera and lens respectively. I have always wanted to get into bird photography, having been inspired by the many photos I've seen on young birders' blogs and elsewhere on the net. With this inspiration I put in the effort to buy a Canon EOS 40D body and a Canon 400mm f 5.6 lens, both of which I had been reccommend by various people as a top quality combination, the combination to go for. When I was finally able to buy this combination I was over the moon. They rather luckily both arrived before I left to go on a family holiday to North Yorkshire, which meant I was able to take them with and test them out for the first time on that holiday.

I spent a week and 2 days staying in the village of Settrington in North Yorkshire, fairly near to Scarborough and half an hours drive from places such as Bempton Cliffs RSPB and Flamborough Head. I took a fair number of photos on the holiday, most of which were taken in the village of Settrington itself. Settrington, like any other countryside village, held many common species such as Swallow, Collared Dove, Wood Pigeon, House Martin etc. As a novice photographer, I feel it is always best to familiarize yourself with your camera and lens by starting to take photos as locally as possible - such as in your garden or in your local park. What I did was simply walk around Settrington photographing very common species of birds - a perfectly pleasurable thing to do I found. I quickly became familiar with the cameras operations, especially with the Full-Auto mode setting ISO, aperture and such like. Below are some of my favourite shots taken in Settrington.

Swallow - Settrington

Song Thrush - Settrington

House Sparrow - Settrington

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Wood Pigeon - Settrington

Collared Dove - Settrington

Blackbird - Settrington (rather manky looking bird!)

House Martin - Settrington

A few days before I left, I ended up at Flamborough Head on a family day out - a place on the East Yorks coast which is famed for its drift migrants and seabird passage at times. When I visited there wasn't much going on to be honest, but there were a few commoner birds that kept me entertained. See photos below.

Pied Wagtail - Flamborough Head, 5/8

Kittiwakes - Flambourough Head

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Gannets at sea - Flamborough Head

Finally on the way back to Aberdeen I met Andrew Kinghorn, fellow Admin of this blog, and went in search of Long-eared Owls at a site near him in Durham (previously having seen a distant Honey Buzzard at Wykeham Forest before travelling up). I was successful, with one young bird late on. Photograph wise there was a stunning sunset which I captured and a rather silhouetted Yellowhammer, see below. A big thank you to Andrew for showing me the Owls, it was a pleasure to meet you!

Yellowhammer sings the day to sleep at undisclosed site, Durham
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I'm very happy with how I'm getting on with my new photographic equipment, and looking forward to photographing birds locally at my patches (Ythan, Loch of Strathbeg etc.). To see more of my photos feel free to check out my flickr page that is linked below. Any feedback you may like to give me on my photos can be posted on here or on my flickr. I will likely create a photography blog on blogspot in the near future. Cheers all, any photos taken on future days out will likely be posted on here.

Friday, 6 August 2010

Day to Remember (28/07/2010)

I had a very enjoyable and memorable a week ago on Wednesday just gone. I had planned to go to North Yorkshire to look for Honey Buzzards at Wykham Forest which is a popular and well known location to look for the species. I went with two friends but we sadly dipped the Honey Buzzards but we got fantastic views of a Goshawk having a go at a Buzzard! On the way to our next port of call (Filey) I received a text from county recorder and friend Mark to alert me there was a Whiskered Tern on Salthome RSPB, this is a nature reserve only 30minutes drive from my house and I often go there to bird watch. I was gutted and panicky that I would miss the bird but I tried to forget about it and I had a nice days birding in Yorkshire as from Filey we went on to Bempton Cliffs RSPB where I had good views of the many sea birds, I also heard my first ever Quail but sadly didn’t even get close to seeing it despite the bird being literally 20-40 feet away in the crop!

However one of the more memorable events was about to come as we made our way for the 2 hour journey back to Salthome RSPB, I got some texts of Mark to reassure me the bird was still there. I was about 50 minutes of Salthome when I received a text again from Mark and he informed me that I was a “lucky boy” as next to the Whiskered Tern a White-rumped Sandpiper had just appeared! We finally got there and I obtained very good views of the White-rumped Sandpiper, even though the light was bad I didn’t really notice it when I was watching the bird as I got pretty fantastic views even with a bit of zoom on my eyepiece. It was nice to see the bird wandering around feeding and to also get a comparison with Dunlin and other waders present. I was so busy watching the White-rumped Sandpiper I didn’t even notice the Little Stint that was reported, however it is possible it might not have been there when I was there. I also god good views of the Whiskered Tern and on a handful of occasions saw the Whiskered Tern and the White-rumped Sandpiper in the same scope view! Both were lifers and therefore also year ticks.

Happy days these birding days!

If you enjoy my ramblings them please do follow me:
Also I have photos that my friends took of the Whiskered Tern and the White-rumped Sandpiper on my blog.

Until next time, Foghorn (nickname) out!

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Spoon-billed Sandpiper Video

The Spoon-billed Sandpiper is one of the rarest birds in the world. They are in serious decline and not many of these fantastic waders remain. I would like to think that it is not to late for us to help this amazing species and that one day I can go abroad and see one, I sure hope one doesn't turn up in the UK though, of course it would be fantastic but also very sad as it is likely that bird would never breed either again or at all.

Here is a superb video of this wonderful species:

Hope you enjoyed the video, very sad considering it failed to attract a mate but a beautiful bird.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Autumnal feel already

as the summer holidays begin, it seems so does autumn for me! two of the past three mornings I have spent down on my local patch, Seaford Head and Cuckmere Haven. I've so far seen Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Grasshopper Warbler and White Wagtail among more common migrants, and heard a croaking Nightingale. I will keep you all updated as autumn progresses, with hopefully a few good birds to brag about too if I'm lucky! Except for from Mid August-early September when I'll be in Canada for three weeks!

all the best to everyone


Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Now for something completely different!


Hope some people laughed. Just a humerous post.

Monday, 26 July 2010

How to view Year List Competition

Dear Young Birders,

You may have noticed that the way the Year Listing Competition is now being done has changed. This is so that the task of updating the results is easier for me and Joseph to update. Here is a list of why I made the changes:

• I can make the results look more appealing in terms of formatting.
• You can comment on the updates if you like (however please continue to send updates through the email address)
• Me and Joseph can edit the updates easily.

The post with the Year List Challenge can be accessed at any time by looking under the “YEAR LISTING COMPETITION 2010” which can be found down the right hand side of the blog. Under this section near the bottom there is a hyperlink to the page to show the Year Listing Competition (SEE IMAGE BELOW). As this page will be updated regularly you can see how everyone’s year list is looking.

New Year List updates post:


If the competition is carried on into next year then I will do the same but instead create a new post that will be 2011 updates,

Andrew & Joseph



Species highlighted in:
Red - Are 'MEGAS', which are exceptionally rare birds.
Orange - Are birds that are classed as "Rare"
Blue - Are birds that are classed as "Scarce"

For the British birders this colour coding goes by national ranking, not local.

(1) - United States of America - Tucker Lutter ~ Total: 404
Highlights: Cinnamon Teal, Golden Eagle, Little Blue Heron, Prairie Falcon, Black-necked Stilt, Black-billed Magpie, and Smith's Longspur in Iowa. Long-tailed Duck, Iceland Gull, Spruce Grouse, Northern Hawk Owl, Great Gray Owl, and American Three-toed Woodpecker in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Fish Crow, Hooded Warbler, and more in Missouri. Gray Hawk, Short-tailed Hawk, Lucifer's Hummingbird, Elegant Trogon, Whiskered Screech-Owl, Buff-breasted Flycatcher (400th life bird!) Sulpher-bellied Flycatcher, Olive Warbler, Varied Bunting, and lots more in SE Arizona. Red-throated Loon (diver), Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel, Flesh-footed Shearwater, Tufted Puffin, Red Phalarope, Heerman's Gull, Red-breasted Sapsucker, American Dipper, Northwestern Crow, and more in Washington.

(2) - United States of America - Chris West ~ Total: 360
Highlights: Orange-billed Nightingale-thrush, Ross's Gull, Red Phalarope, Ruff, Kirtland's Warbler, White-tailed Ptarmigan, Brown-capped Rosy-finch, Mountain Plover, Lewis's Woodpecker

(3) - United States of America - James Fox ~ Total: 298
Highlights: Northern Hawk Owl, Iceland Gull, Thayer's Gull, Prothonotary Warbler, Henslow's Sparrow, Dickcissel, Kentucky Warbler, Red-necked Phalarope, and Golden-crowned Sparrow in Michigan.  Purple Gallinule, Prairie Warbler, Yellow-throated Warbler, Blue Grosbeak, Sabine's Gull, Black-bellied Whistling Duck, and Brant in Ohio.  Burrowing Owl, MacGillivray's Warbler, Prairie Falcon, Dusky Grouse, American Dipper, Black Swift, Acorn Woodpecker, Gray Flycatcher, Grace's Warbler, Pinyon Jay and lots more in Colorado.

(4) - United Kingdom - Andrew Kinghorn ~ Total: 265
Highlights: Trumpeter Finch, Iberian Chiffchaff, Sykes's WarblerEastern Olivaceous Warbler, Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, American Bittern, Green Heron, Pied-billed GrebeBlack-throated Thrush, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Whiskered Tern, White-rumped Sandpiper, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Bonaparte's Gull, Greenish Warbler, Red-flanked Bluetail, Dusky Warbler, Squacco Heron, Ross's Goose (not counted on my lists), Coues' Arctic Redpoll, Ringed-necked Duck, Green-winged Teal, American Wigeon, Purple Heron, Great White Egret, Spotted CrakeCapercallie, Iceland Gull, Bean Goose, Montagu's Harrier, Dotterel, Temminck's Stint, Balearic Shearwater, Barred Warbler, Lapland BuntingWhite-winged Black Tern, Firecrest, Wryneck, Woodchat Shrike, Great Grey Shrike, Shorelark, Yellow-browed Warbler, Red-breasted Flycatcher, Pallas's Warbler, Snow Goose, Pomarine Skua, Little Auk, Rough-legged Buzzard, Mealy Redpoll, Black Grouse, Crested Tit, Ptarmigan, Hen Harrier, Stone Curlew, Hobby, Nightingale, Jack Snipe, Black Redstart, Black-necked Grebe, Short-eared Owl, Long-eared Owl, Barn Owl, Marsh Harrier, Golden Eagle, Bittern, Smew, Merlin, Peregrine, White-fronted Goose, Turtle Dove, Woodlark, Grasshopper Warbler, Cetti's Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Nightjar, Garganey, Arctic Skua, Great Skua, Manx Shearwater, Sooty Shearwater, Scaup, Brambling, and Bewick's Swan (long awaited lifer).

(5) - United Kingdom - David Campbell ~ Total: 212
Highlights: White-tailed Lapwing, Marmora's Warbler, River Warbler, Trumpeter Finch, Bufflehead, Iberian Chiffchaff, Dusky Warbler, Alpine Swift, Red-footed Falcon, Montagu's Harrier, Ferruginous Duck, Golden Oriole,Ring-billed Gull, Great Shearwater, Hoopoe, Wryneck, Waxwing, Green -winged Teal, Serin, Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Pectoral Sandpiper, Red-backed Shrike, Common Rosefinch, Stone-curlew, Purple Heron, Great White Egret, Hawfinch, Storm Petrel, Balearic Shearwater, Chough, Quail, Sooty Shearwater, Goshawk, Cirl Bunting, amongst many others.

(6) - United Kingdom - Joseph Nichols ~ Total: 210
Highlights: Broad-billed Sandpiper, Lesser Scaup, Glossy Ibis, King Eider, Black-winged Stilt, Red-footed Falcon, Snow Goose, Purple Heron, Great White Egret, Great Grey Shrike, Montagu's Harrier, Temminck's Stint, Honey Buzzard, Iceland Gull, Golden Oriole, Common Crane, Spoonbill, Bean Goose, White-tailed Eagle, Long-eared Owl, Stone Curlew, Red-crested Pochard, Nightjar, Little Owl, Avocet, Yellow Wagtail, Turtle Dove, Med Gull, Black Grouse, Ptarmigan, Crested Tit, Dotterel, Firecrest, , Dartford Warbler, Golden Eagle, Garganey, Bittern, Common Redstart, Red Kite, Cetti's Warbler, Marsh Tit, LRP, Bewicks Swan, Egyptian Goose, White-fronted Goose, Waxwing, Great Northern Diver, Scaup, Kingfisher, Hen Harrier, Twite, Snow Bunting, Merlin, Water Rail, Osprey, Brambling, Long-tailed Duck, Smew, Slavonian Grebe, Water Pipit, Short-eared Owl, and Brent Goose.

(7) - United Kingdom - Robert Williamson ~ Total: 192
Highlights: Oriental Pratincole, Bufflehead, Black-throated Thrush, Pallid Swift, Alpine Swift, Snow Goose, Bluethroat, Dotterel, Lapland Bunting, Bean Goose, Golden Pheasant, Caspian Gull, Dartford Warbler, Willow Warbler, Gannet, Swallow, Sand Martin, Wheatear, Chiffchaff, Woodlark, Med Gull, Scaup, Corn Bunting, Shore Lark, Firecrest, Mealy Redpoll, Black-throated Diver, Red-throated Diver, Spotted Redshank, , Merlin, Dipper, Snow Bunting, , Red-necked Grebe, Great Northern Diver, Hawfinch, Lesser Redpoll, Sisken, Brambling, Whooper & Bewick's Swan, Tree Sparrow, Willow Tit, Red Kite, Twite, Water & Rock Pipit, Water Rail, White-fronted Geese, Yellow-legged Gull, Slavonian Grebe, Guillemot, Velvet Scoter, Peregrine, Smew, Goosander, Bittern

(8) - United States of America - John Shamgochian ~ Total: 190
Highlights: Tundra Swan, Eurasian Wigeon, Harlequin Duck, Ruffed Grouse,  Black Crowned Night-Heron, Glossy Ibis, Black Vulture, Mississippi Kite, Bald Eagle, Merlin, Peregrine Falcon,Piping Plover, Hudsonian Godwit, Wilson's Snipe, American Woodcock, Black-Headed Gull, Least Tern, Razorbill, Black Guillemot, Yellow-Billed Cuckoo, Eastern Screech-Owl, Barred Owl, Common Nighthawk, Nashville Warbler, Prothonotary Warbler, Ovenbird, Northern Waterthrush, Hooded Warbler, Canada Warbler, Yellow-Breasted Chat, Saltmarsh Sparrow, Blue Grosbeak, Bobolink, Rusty Blackbird, Orchard Oriole and Purple Finch, Fox Sparrow, Lapland Longspur, Snow Bunting, Winter Wren and Common Raven.

(9) - United Kingdom - Liam Curson ~ Total: 169
Highlights: Marmora's Warbler, White-tailed Plover, Bonaparte's Gull Great Grey Shrike, Temminck's Stint, Nightingale, Nightjar, Chough, Puffin, Pied Flycatcher, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Marsh Harrier, Arctic Skua, Black-necked Grebe, Long-tailed Duck, Water Pipit, Velvet Scoter, Garganey, Glaucous Gull, Cattle Egret, Red-throated and Black-throated Divers, Dark-bellied Brent, Gadwall, Pintail, Shoveler, Scaup, Pochard, Goldeneye, Water Rail, Jack Snipe, Woodcock, Black-tailed Godwit, Common and Green Sandpipers, Mediterranean Gull, Little Gull, Razorbill, Little Owl, Woodlark, Black Redstart, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Raven, Bullfinch, Crane, Crossbill, Cettis Warbler, Tawny Owl, Wheater, and Bittern.

(10) - United Kingdom - Ashley Hugo ~ Total: 129
Highlights: Richard's Pipit, Cattle Egret, Black Redstart, Bittern

(11) - United Kingdom - Simeon Grundy ~ Total: 127
Highlights: Alpine Swift, Smew, Scaup, Bittern, Peregrine, Merlin, Shore Lark, Snow Bunting

(12) - United Kingdom - Oliver Simms ~ Total: 137
Highlights: Serin, Glaucous Gull, Woodlark, Bittern, Rock Pipit, Bearded Tit, Waxwing, Black Redstart, Slavonian Grebe, Little Gull and Short Eared Owl

(13) - United Kingdom - Robert Gilbert ~Total: 99
Highlights: Red-throated Diver, Yellow-legged Gull

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Email Recieved

We would love to share with you an article that we just posted on our own blog! “Top 10 Destinations for Snowbirds” ( ) would be an interesting story for your readers to check out and discuss on your blog, so we hope you will consider sharing it!

Thanks so much for your time, and have a wonderful day!

Sheryl Owen
posted by Andrew Kinghorn

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Admin Coalition

Hi everyone,

Just to let everyone know their is now a coalition of admin between Joseph Nichols and myself (Andrew Kinghorn).

Please continue to use this blog and enjoy it, please post what you like and whenever you like. This is your blog!


Andrew Kinghorn - Admin
Joseph Nichols - Admin

Friday, 16 July 2010

Recent Shots from Suffolk

Just a few recent photos I've taken from a visit to Suffolk, which had me seeing Nightjar, Dartford Warbler, Bearded Tit and many more.

Patient waiting in a hide at Lackford Lakes SWT allowed me very good views of a Kingfisher, which perched and fished right in front of us!

At Minsmere, a family of Avocets had taken up residence in one the few pools that hadn't dried up on the wader scrape...

Sedge and Reed Warblers sang deep in the reedbeds, and occasionally one would pop up...

A bit of an odd looking female Chaffinch caught my eye...

Onto Blaxhall Common, and I had been given a tip off that Nightjars were in residence on a certain area of the common. Whilst waiting, a Dartford Warbler sang and briefly flitted past. The Nightjars called non stop till gone 11pm and even flew over my head on several occasions.

I got a video of a bird churring but it won't seem to upload on here. Its on my blog though.

The wooded clearing where the birds displayed...

More on the blog at

Hope everyone has a great summer!

Cheers, Bill

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Identification of Iberian Chiffchaff song


I have written a piece on my blog about the identification of Iberian Chiffchaff by song. I have also included the called of both Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler, which in the UK look very similar and are the possible (common) confusion species.

Here is the piece:

Hope this is of some use to people.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

2010 travel update

Hey everyone, Chris W here from the grand state of Wisconsin, USA!

Just wanted to give a quick update. I've forgotten how long it's been since I've posted here, so I'll recap for the year since Jan.

Birding in Jan, Feb was rather slow. I got a quick start to my year list in Jan but then dropped off after that.
The last week of Feb, I was practically given the chance to go along on a VENT (Victor Emanuel Nature Tours) trip to Costa Rica for the first week of March. It was quite the most amazing trip I've ever been on. got around 200 new lifers during a week's time there.

Less than a month later, I had the chance to volunteer for three weeks as a guide at Tandayapa Bird Lodge in Northwest Ecuador. Talk about another amazing trip to the tropics! Nearly 200 lifers there as well.

For May, I birded the heck out my home state and worked my year list up near 300.
A 10 day trip helping lead a tour to Colorado in Jun pushed it over 300.

Now, it's July, the slowest birding month here in the US and I've been working on documenting my trips on my blog "The Southwest Wisconsin Birder"

Want to read the details of my trips? visit my blog! do it. :)

Saturday, 29 May 2010

An extract from my birding diary, about a particularly exciting visit to my local patch in Oxford - Port Meadow - on 23rd May:

With an hour or so to kill, and since I was up at St Hughe's anyway, I decided to visit Port Meadow this evening. On arrival, it seemed that there wasn't that much of note: the Little Egret was still present with a Grey Heron, and a Common Tern flew along the river. However, as I was watching a few Gadwall, which were beginning to go into eclipse moult, the drake Garganey appeared! On the grass nearby were the two leucistic Egyptian Geese - the first time I had seen them. Not long after this, I spotted some movement on the far side, which turned out to be a Ringed Plover - not a bad bird for the meadow. I didn't think it had been there the whole time as I had scanned that bank already, so decided to check it again. A flash of yellow caught my attention: a Yellow Wagtail. It was quite mobile, and as I watched it move along I became aware of movement on the edge of the grass. Two small brown waders revealed themselves, and I instantly felt they could be something good. They had the general appearance of Common Sandpipers, but were behaving more skulkingly, without bobbing as Common Sandpipers often do. There was no hint of a white spur, and I was fairly sure they were smaller, though it was difficult to judge from that distance. I packed up my kit in a rush and biked over in order to get better views, which did nothing to help the effects of sunstroke I was beginning to feel! However, when I reached a reasonable distance to view from, they were nowhere to be seen. Frantically, I biked back, and thankfully there they were, in the same general area. Taking careful note of their position, I repeated the exercise and this time managed to locate them. I now I realised there were 3 birds. The light was against me, but I could just make out a complete breast band and some scaling on the mantle and scapulars. I was now pretty certain I'd found three Temminck's Stints, and felt confident enough to alert Adam Hartley, who watches Port Meadow regularly. Thankfully he was able to come immediately, and arrived within a few minutes. During this time I had noted a lot of white on the rump/tail when one of the birds preened. I directed Adam to the birds, not wanting to leave my place to get better views in case they disappeared, as has happened many times before! By this time I was feeling pretty awful, so when he told me he'd got them I left the rest to him, texting in to Birdguides, and flopping down on the grass. I didn't even feel up to walking round to get better views myself, content with the photos I knew Adam would be taking. Was it worth the visit? Of course!

Visit Adam Hartley's website, Port Meadow Birding, for photos of the birds. And, needless to say, keep checking your local patch whenever you have a spare hour. You never know what might turn up!


Sunday, 14 March 2010

Dorset 13/3/10

Hooded Merganser

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Birding NE Minnesota

My dad and I birded all over NE Minnesota in search of boreal forest birds and were rewarded with four life birds-Great Gray Owl (pictured below), Spruce Grouse, Iceland Gull, and American Three-toed Woodpecker. To see photos of my trip go to

Monday, 22 February 2010


Hi everyone, sorry I forgot to introduce myself on my first post. My name is Liam and I live in Seaford, East Suusex. I am 14 years old. I have known a bit about birds since I was about six, but until I was twelve I just went out twitching a few things around Sussex and was only really interested in Raptors and Waders. I first got really interested after a trip to Australia, where the bird life is absolutely fantastic!! It is mainly because of that trip that I have managed to get a world life list of 548 species, but I have also been to Cyprus, Mull, France and on the Pride of Bilbao seawatching recently, and to America when I was seven. I'm going to Canada this August when hopefully I can get my life list up to 700. The best bird I've ever seen is definitely Cassowary in Oz, but over there I also saw Superb Fairy-Wren, Kori Bustard, Brolga and Papuan Frogmouth, which were all fantastic. My favourite british bird is probably Waxwing or Bee-eater, but if I'd seen one in Britain it would be Golden Oriole without a doubt! I haven't found many rarities, but have found a few local rarities around my local area, including Montagu's Harrier, Goshawk, Waxwing and Cattle Egret. The rarest bird I've seen in Britain is White-crowned Sparrow or Green Heron, and the rarest bird I've seen in the world is probably either Cassowary or Feas's Petrel. I go birding most often around Seaford, where you can easily get to the South Downs, two river valleys, an excellent seawatching area and a coastal headland with good numbers of migrants passing through every autumn. However I don't see notable birds around here that often, so most of my posts will be for when I go away on trips elsewhere. For more info see my blog.

Thanks for reading and good luck to everyone out there

All the best

Liam Curson

Gigrin Farm Kites

A few shots taken at Gigrin Farm in wales over the weekend. Stuning views of the Red Kites and the Black Kite just made the day.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

A 'Hello'

Hello folks. You've probably noticed that hitherto this occasion I haven't posted in this blog. This is because I'm currently trying to get up to date with my own. When I finally do get up to date, which I can happily say won't be too long now, I'll make sure I post in here more regularly. In the meantime, I just thought I'd post to introduce myself .

I'm Joseph Nichols (Joseph N on Birdforum), and I'm a very keen 15 year old young living in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Ever since I was a young lad at the age of 5 I have been watching and enjoying birds in a big way. With age of course, my ability to birdwatch has improved considerably and with that too my British List and my Life List. My life list in the world currently stands at just below 350 species (347), with 2 trips to South Africa and others to countries such as Portugal, France and Spain in the past providing me with over a 100 species that I haven't seen in Britain. My British List, if I was to be honest, matters more to me. It currently stands at 228 species, which I think is reasonable for someone of my age. A good number of rarities are amongst these 228 species, of which the rarest was a Greater Sand Plover at the Ythan Estuary in 2008. This bird was one of those species that looked completely out of place, and not where it was supposed to be, hence why it was only the 13th record for Britain ever. Last year, a Stilt Sandpiper at the Loch of Strathbeg in early July came in as the second rarest bird that I'd ever seen, with only 18 records of this bird ever in the UK. These were both great birds to see. Some other rare birds that I have seen, all of which I have taken great pleasure in seeing, include Great White Egret (although this species is gradually losing its vagrant status), Glossy Ibis, a few Snow Geese, Ruddy Shelduck, King Eiders (female and drake seen but on different occasions), Common Crane, Dotterel, White-winged Black Tern, Short-toed Lark, Bluethroat, Icterine ,Yellow-browed and Pallas's Warbler, Ross's Goose, Richard's Pipit and Red-backed Shrike. In the coming years, I hope to see more rare birds, as well as some of those rare breeders. My current year list, as you may have read on the competition, is at 113 species. For me its been an absolutely fantastic year so far, probably my best start ever. I've already had 4 lifers this year. These lifers have are amongst my highlights this year, which you can see on this very page.

Whilst I do take interest in the listing aspect of birding, I also really enjoy watching birds and other wildlife on a whole; I would hardly call myself a 'twitcher'. In my opinion, its a blissful experience to escape from the hardships and repetition of everday life and find yourself out amongst copious amounts of birds, witnessing nature's marvellous spectacles. I also love just how ubiquitous birds are (they're always there for you to see in other words) and how unpredictable birding is. What are you going to see, and in what way will this effect you? It's just very excting! I get out birding regularly with my Dad , very rarely leaving it more than a few weeks between birding outings. I tend to visit three local patches by the names of Girdleness, the Ythan Estuary and the Loch of Strathbeg, all of which are fantastic in their different ways. Girdleness sticks out into the sea and is great for seawatching and looking for migrants, the Ythan Estuary is good for waterfowl, whilst the Loch of Strathbeg is the same as the Ythan Estuary but better, providing more rarities and a wider range of species than the Ythan. I have also done a reasonable amount of birding in England, where I visit relatives annually. I also occasionally go birding in other parts of Scotland.

That is just a brief introduction to my birding experiences and adventures. If you want to find out more and would like to read about my birding days out, please visit my blog at this link:

Cheers folks, and I'll start posting more in here when I get up to date with my blog. In the meantime, I'll be keeping an eye on how you guys are getting on,


The French Invasion!

Despite the title, this was not a daring rescue mission to defeat the Nazis in WW2; unfortunately we were about 65 years too late for that! Instead, this was a birding trip (bet you didn’t see that one coming!!). Others along on this trip were Chris Lowmass (who was kind enough to use his minivan to ferry us all around, Dick Gilmore, Neil Greenaway, Chris Davis, Jon Curson, John Luck, and Sid, whose surname I sadly can’t remember!). So the Eight of us travelled to Dover in the darkness, driving along bumpy roads while attempting to get some sleep! Two Barn Owls were seen around Camber at around 05:00, but I was asleep at the time, even more annoying because one was about 20 yards inside Sussex, and would have just counted a county year-tick! The first species seen by me was a Herring Gull caught by flashlights in Dover Harbour at about 06:00. Once it was reasonably light and we were all reasonably well-fed on the full-English served on the ferry, brief sea watch was in order, where we recorded Kittiwake, Great Black-backed Gull, Common Gull, Back-headed Gull, Cormorant, Great Crested Grebe and Purple Sandpiper (on the rocks at Calais Harbour), taking the species list for the trip up to ten, of which I had seen eight, (I missed the Purplie as well as the Barn Owls.) In Calais Harbour Docks, we added Feral Pigeon and Starling, taking the total list up to twelve species. Traveling to our next stop was fairly productive, Woodpigeon, Kestrel, Coot, Fieldfare, Collared Dove, Jackdaw, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Grey Heron, Grey Partridge and Moorhen made the total 23 species by about 07:30. The Grey Partidge were an interesting note, we saw several coveys of this supposedly ‘English’ Partridge by the side of the roads throughout the day, indicating they are doing much better in France than Britain. Adding to the Irony, we did not see a single French (Red-legged) Partridge all day!! Our first stop was a Gravel Pit near Dunkirk (dunquerque if you are in France). Here we added Chaffinch, Mallard Gadwall, Teal, Wigeon, Shelduck, Tufted Duck, Pochard, Goldeneye, Lapwing, Meadow Pipit and two magnificent Whooper Swans! These two were obviously the main highlight of the stop, although it was also good to see displaying Goldeneye throwing their heads back, practising for when they left this French Gravel Pit for Scandinavia(or perhaps Scotland?) Once again we hit the road, and added Carrion Crow to the ranks before us, which now stood at 36 species. Our next stop was another pit, by the side of a motorway, which overlooked several miles of farmland. From here, Pintail, Mute Swan, Skylark, Buzzard, Robin and Curlew were added, with the final highlight a beautiful ringtail Hen Harrier quartering the fields behind the pit. Our species list now stood at 43 birds. On the road again, Lesser Blackback and Magpie were added, while at our next stop, Dunkirk Harbour, virtually the first bird we saw was a beautiful male Black Redstart. Elsewhere in the Harbour, we quickly added Oystercatcher and Turnstone, and would have done had we not already encountered Great Crested Grebes, which were very numerous here. Neil soon spotted three Slavonian Grebes, the first of at least ten we recorded in the harbour, while he followed up this shout with a Red-necked Grebe. Shag, Black-necked Grebe and Black-throated Diver then fell down in quick succession, and a walk/drive 6 miles along the spit on the side of the harbour revealed Ringed Plover, Grey Plover, Snow Bunting, Red-breasted Merganser and more good views of Goldeneye and Slav and black-necked Grebes. Redwing was added in some coastal scrub near Dunkirk, while travelling a few miles along the coast to a pier, where we hoped to see Purple Sandpiper, didn’t work, but Eider, Brent Goose and Rock Pipit took our list up to 62 species. We then hit the road again for an hour or so, a period lightened up when Dick spotted a Crested Lark walking across the middle of the road. Chris wasn’t able to stop in time for everyone to see it (I only just woke up at that point!), but he hurriedly reversed until everyone had a brilliant side-on view of one of the rarest resident birds in Northern France! Our final stop was Platier D’oye, a reserve run by the Frecnh version of the RSPB, where we added Greylag, Barnacle, White-fronted and Canada Geese, Sparrowhawk, Snipe, two very pale Ruff, two very distant Smew (1 duck/1drake), one Dunlin, several Shoveler and finally a Water Rail scurrying along the back of one of the scrapes. 74 species and counting! Finally, in a last look around, we ventured onto the beach, where we saw House Sparrow and Great Tit in the dunes and a Redshank on the sandy beach. 77 species, not a bad showing. However, it became 79 soon after, with Gannet and Razorbill seen from the ferry as we left Calais, and I caught up with the Purple Sands seen by a few people as we entered France. Chris Lowmass’s record on one of these trips was 82, and we could easily have beaten that if it wasn’t for some terrible bloopers, including Blue Tit!!!!!, Goldfinch!!!!!!!, Linnet, Stock Dove, Little Egret, Pheasant, Kingfisher, Grey Wagtail, Wren!!!!, Stonechat, Mistle Thrush, Goldcrest, Long-tailed Tit, Jay, Rook, Greenfinch!!!!, Yellowhammer and Reed Bunting.