New Hobby – Birdwatching

I got a free subscription for a birdwatching magazine, and so have been slightly inspired by the list they provided of 200 birds to try to see during the course of the year.  I don’t think I could ever see all the unusual and rare ones, but I may try to achieve 100.  I’m already (amazingly) at 41, just from the garden, a park with a lake in it, and a couple of coastal spots.  I think I knew all the more basic/common things, but it’s going a step further to try to identify birds you’re not sure of, and to actually be ticking them off within a time period.

So it looks like birdwatching is my new (sadly solitary) hobby for 2021.

I have seen lots of oystercatchers and several curlews.  I’ve been pleased to see and identify some of the more obscure ducks – namely Shoveler, Widgeon and Teal.  Maybe I’ve seen them before in London parks but never registered them, I don’t know.  I’ve also seen a Little Egret and what I believe was a Buzzard (in fact two).  When I saw a bird of prey I thought I’d never identify it, but I think I’m right, based on a process of elimination relating to key features like size, colour, shape of wings, length of tail, and whether it can possibly be in this location at this time of year.

We shall see how it goes.  Currently things I think I should see at some point and can add to the total are: wren, jay, hooded crow, pheasant, song or mistle thrush, maybe great crested grebe, and in the summer swallow, swift, skylark.  Things I’ve never seen in my life (and don’t expect to see) despite being British birds: kingfisher, nightingale, cuckoo, nightjar (.. and many more!)

Unfortunately my proper camera failed on my last holiday – I’ve only just sent it off for repair.  So the only photo I can offer at the moment is these Canada Geese on a little lake.