Saturday, March 28, 2020

Home Birding

An extract from an email all ringers received this week.


“Following the Government statement on 23 March, our Senior Leadership Team has reviewed the BTO advice and is asking all volunteers to follow the guidelines presented by the Prime Minister. While the monitoring work undertaken by volunteers is extremely important, it must not compromise public health. 

To avoid this potential risk, we are requesting that all BTO surveyors, including ringers and nest recorders, refrain from undertaking survey work at sites to which they would need to travel by any means until this guidance is reviewed.” 

“All the best and stay safe”. 

Dave Leech, Head of Ringing & Nest Recording 
James Pearce-Higgins, Director of Science” 


Here's my contribution to "Home Birding", the newest buzz phrase for locked down birders with a post first published on Another Bird Blog on 31/12/2011 - New Year’s Eve 2011. Click the pictures for a close-up.

It’s time for recalling the past year’s highlights of birding, ringing and photography. Now is the moment when we choose to forget the low points, the empty pages in a sodden notebook, netting a handful of birds on a seemingly perfect spring morning, or discovering that you set the aperture wrong.

Here we go in rough chronological order with a selection of photos and personal highlights of 2011.

In the early part of the year we holidayed in Egypt at a time when the country was undergoing a revolution, but the confiding birds hadn’t joined in the turmoil and just behaved naturally for a visiting Brit.

Egypt proved to be a wonderful place for bird photography and so difficult to select just a few pictures, apart from the Kingfisher which is just about my favourite photo of the year, taken with a decent choice of aperture for once.

Kingfisher - Egypt

Cattle Egret - Egypt

I’d left Will counting Siskins building up by the hundreds in his garden, together with a dozen or two Brambling and Lesser Redpoll. Within days of returning from Egypt I joined him for some memorable ringing sessions and notable breakfasts.


Lesser Redpoll 


Bacon Butty 

Spring and autumn were great for catching and photographing Northern Wheatears at Pilling. With the help of sacrificial meal worms I caught fourteen “Wheats” and clicked the shutter button a couple of hundred times on the beautiful chat, passing Meadow Pipits or the occasional Linnet.


Meadow Pipit


The annual ritual came along, May in Menorca, the island where birds are hard to find but fortunately more numerous than birders. This year a ringed Audouin’s Gull at the hotel pool gave me an excuse to search for that extreme rarity, a Menorcan ringer.

A Ringed Audouin’s Gull -

A Ringed Audouin's Gull

Summer was warm and wonderful, ringing Swallow chicks, finding Skylark nests and stumbling upon young Lapwings or breeding Redshank.


Barn Swallow 



Then at the end of summer came a chance to take photographs of a species rapidly becoming a rarity, the unfortunately named “Common” Cuckoo.


Autumn and early winter was given over to ringing pipits, buntings, finches and thrushes “on the moss”, the satisfaction of working a regular patch with a job well done.

Reed Bunting 

Tree Pipit


Don't forget to Spring forward tonight by changing all those clocks. Or not.

Back soon with Another Bird Blog.  Linking this post to Anni's Birding in Texas.


Jo said...

Dear Phil, as always I love your bird images. The Skylark nestlings are a treat to see. And the perspective of the Ringed Aduins Gull is brilliant. Barn Swallows are lining up on the telephone wires here. Do you have a complete lock down or have you just been told to restrict movement? We, here in South Africa, are in total lockdown since Friday 27th March. I'm blessed as I live on a farm. So I am able to walk the dog and photograph birds in the paddocks next door. Be safe and take care. Jo

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

I love seeing your beautiful bird photos and I need some of this time to work on those I've taken this Spring. My favorite today is the photo of the babies though. It's so hard to get a good look in nests! Take care of yourself this week! Stay healthy! Hugs from Florida, Diane

Rhodesia said...

Great blog, I love your home birding. Love the skylark nests. Your visit to Egypt was a great improvement on mine. Mine was a 12-hour stopover waiting for the next flight, They insisted that we went on a drive to see the pyramids etc, the scariest drive I have ever been onion my life!! Stay safe and keep well Diane

Linda said...

Interesting post. Some really cute birdies! Stay well.

Anni said...

Oh dear...picture post card images today! Wow. Lovin' the skylark babies and that cuckoo is magnificent! As always, so enjoyable to visit here Phil

Thanks for stopping by to add your link today & share with us birders at I'd Rather B Birdin!

Mike Attwood said...

Lovely stuff Phil, Keep ticking over through the virus. Keep clean, Mike.

NCSue said...

The bird at the top of your page is a real stunner, and all of your photos are a delight.
Hoping this finds you in good health.
Thanks for sharing at

Handmade in Israel said...

What wonderful photos! Especially love the Kingfisher.

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

I don't know why but I adore photos of Kingfishers - I don't believe I've ever seen one in person unless it is high in the sky. I guess it is the colors but I've also loved photos of them diving for food. I don't mind your archival photos at all and think you should do that forward until times are safe. Stay well!

A Bit of the Blarney said...

Oh my, this is a wonderful post. And the wee sparrows in their nest just left me speechless!! Thank you! Stay well and have a grand week!

Fun60 said...

Great selection. Favourite would be the kingfisher.

Lydia C. Lee said...

The skylark chicks are fantastic. Great shot! And as an aside, I love HP. What an under-rated sauce!!

Powell River Books said...

Just about everything we do right now is from home. - Margy

Stewart M said...

Great set of pictures (as ever!)

Do you have space to set up any nets in your garden? I remember ringing a flock of Green Finches from a tiny back garden near Gateshead many years ago.

Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

Veronica Lee said...

Such fabulous photos! Keep them lovely bird photos coming, Phil!

Lowcarb team member said...

Bacon …
Birds …

Lovely photographs here, thanks Phil.

All the best Jan

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