My interest has now been given even more of the boost, as I received a new pair of binoculars for Christmas, which have all the right features for bird watching – good magnification, a coating to stop glare and retain colours etc. Needless to say, I’ve been even more transfixed with what’s going on outside, driving my family mad with sudden exclamations of, “Wow! There’s a lesser spotted what’s-its-face!” and “Quick, what’s that over there? Could it be a crested what’s-its-name?”
The arrival of said binoculars has indeed allowed me to see many birds here for the first time – birds that until now had merged in with the mud banks or undergrowth, but that I can now view in all their glory. I’ve been watching the herons, cormorants, gulls etc since we moved in, but now I’ve also been able to watch the lapwings and redshanks and a few others that I still have to identify.
I’ve also become more interested in garden and woodland species of birds too. I was getting a bit fed up that the current bird feeders were attracting a disproportionate amount of starlings, which were scaring off some of the smaller birds. So off I went and bought a ‘small bird’ feeder which I duly filled with ‘finch mix’ and am happy to report that it has had the desired effect of attracting some of the smaller species, which are now able to feed in peace. Goldfinches, greenfinches, blue tits and great tits have already visited the feeder and I’m hoping to see others arrive in due course.
Armed with my bird books, I’m managing to identify many of the birds that I see (providing that I can get a good enough view of them), but what I’d really like to do is to learn to identify some of the birdsong and calls that I hear every day. The books do try to describe the sounds in words, but that doesn’t always work for me. All that I can do is try to whittle the calls down to a few possible candidates and listen to the recordings on You Tube in the hope of identifying them.
Despite this enthusiasm for watching (and listening to) our feathered friends, I’m not about to start looking out for reports of rare sightings and go hurtling off to the other end of the country to join the twitching fraternity in some kind of stakeout. No, I’m quite happy with all that I can see from my own window and garden. I’m just extremely fortunate to be living with so much of nature on my doorstep!