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Ive lived in Lanarkshire all of my 40 years, and in that time I have seen my local area change beyond all recognition, and definitely not for the better. From the appearance of massive identikit housing estates where rolling fields once rang to the song of yellowhammers, the inexorable process of urbanisation goes on as the local authorities undertake a concerted effort to eradicate every sign of nature- or so it seems. The nature- filled halcyon days of my childhood are a swiftly receding memory, replaced by the creeping horror of what is replacing them. Its important, I think, to highlight what we, as nature lovers in general and bird lovers in particular, still have, for the moment at least.
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What Kind Of Birder.....

Posted Sunday 29th June 2014 at 23:18 by Green Sandpiper
Different names and labels are something which has vexed birders since we first startign talkign about that sort of thing. I don't the categories suggested by Bill Oddie but something more ethereal. I've written a lot about how I struggle to balance a quest for ticks with the joy of sometimes just immersing myself in bird life.

A recent Big Day Out raised a new issue- am I a 'Nature Reserve Birder' or am I a 'Wild Birder'?

After last months trip to St Abb's Head,...
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Green Sand's Medium Day Out

Posted Thursday 5th June 2014 at 10:28 by Green Sandpiper
This year I've noticed my birding has been characterised by a few big days out, where I travel to exotic places like stonehaven, and a few more wee days out, sneaking some birding in locally whenever the wife isn't wtaching.

What I haven't really had are medium days out- to the coast, or Ardmore Point in the Clyde Estuary, for example. Trips involving some travelling, but not too far. Good birding, but not a full day expedition. In comparison with other years, this is a bad oversight....
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Green Sand's Big Day- St Abb's Head NNR, Berwickshire

Posted Wednesday 28th May 2014 at 13:19 by Green Sandpiper
Its all the puffins' fault....

I hate boats, they go on water, the deep bits that are above my head, and make it likely that i'll drown. I try to avoid them, they're unnatural. Therefore, the usual methods of ticking puffins in the east coast (take a boat trip to one of yon small islands) are closed off.

After my successful big day out at Fowlsheugh, my latest Big Day Out was a couple of weeks ago, and I chanced my arm for puffins again. I headed East again,...
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Days Out- Big and Small

Posted Sunday 27th April 2014 at 23:00 by Green Sandpiper
My second big day out of the year saw me again try to double up site visits. Now, as a farmboy who's a bit scared of the seaside, and who's a big bit scared of heights, a trip to the seacliffs at RSPB Fowlsheugh was an odd choice. However, this offered me the chance for razorbill, guilemmot, and even puffin. It was also my first visit to what we know as a 'seabird city' and i had (high) hopes of a birding spectacle, regardless of the targets.

Its amazing, how my inner terror...
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The Simplest Things.....

Posted Tuesday 8th April 2014 at 23:49 by Green Sandpiper
I mentioned a few weeks ago that I had been in danger of losing my birding mojo. A frustrating few weeks with limited birds and birding opportunities will do that to you, you know. By the same token, its amazing how random events act to re- enervate you.

Last autumn, a particularly horrendous work week was infinitely brightened by the sound of a chiffchaff calling near my home, presumably readying itself for its journey south. (having seen how bad Scottish summers are, no bird...
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