Showing posts from October, 2021

Mother tongue

When did you start birding? For me, it was when I was very little. I used to sit with my grandad flicking through the bird book and while I was yet to be able to read the descriptions, I could identify most British birds by the age of 4. My birding education was chiefly visual - I couldn't read let alone understand the meaning of a scapular. For some of you, this will sound very familiar, for others maybe you got into birding later on. In this way, there's a huge range of birding backgrounds, which gives rise to an interesting phenomenon that I've only recently started to notice. As birders, when we look at a photo of a Western Sandpiper, lots of thoughts go through our head to try and establish why it is not a Little Stint or a Semipalmated Sandpiper. And when I'm with other birders, I've noticed a lot of the time these thoughts are very technical - half-webbed toes, the markings on the scapulars, the bill length etc. Whereas my response is sometimes "well it

Spurn Residential Volunteering 2021

Sometimes, when you've wanted to do something for a really long time, it can never quite live up to expectations. Thankfully, when it came to my visit to Spurn Bird Observatory that wasn't the case - it matched my wildest expectations. I visited Spurn for two weeks, thanks to the BTO's fantastic Young Bird Observatory Volunteer Fund which funded my stay at the observatory. I'm so grateful to the BTO for providing me with the opportunity through this grant. Having been successful in my application to become a residential volunteer at Spurn in autumn 2020, I was extremely disappointed when the pandemic meant that volunteers were no longer able to visit for anything other than the full 3 month autumn period (which I wouldn't have been able to do due to university). With a similar commitment needed to become a residential volunteer in 2021, I am extremely grateful to Jonnie Fisk for allowing me to come for 2 weeks with the YBOV fund in September before my university yea