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Blogs (4 Viewers)

 
Some of you may have picked up b now that while I always have the best intentions to be organised, the reality is often very different. I’ve mentioned how, with the promise of lockdown easing, I had been making tentative plans for what to do when the great day came upon us. Over the past few weeks, these went from dreams through various stages to actual plans, with a schedule and a timeframe. Birdtrack data has been scoured, even, to give you and idea of the depth of planning. Thus it came...
The village where I grew up is no longer, by any reasonable measure, a village. The transformation of derelict industrial and former agricultural land into massive, identikit housing estates. My house, and the streets I played in, are still there, but the village of Halfway in South Lanarkshire is no longer recognisable. Leaving aside the ecological and human geography aspect of urbanisation, there's something poignant about going back. Sure, the back roads (as we call them) are the...
I've realised that my blog titles have started to resemble the episode names from the MacGyver reboot.... Quiet couple of weeks, both in the garden and in my wanderings. 'Making do' is now such an automatic thing that I don't give it a second thought, really, unless I'm in a reflective mood. Last Saturday was a 'dropping daughter off at work day' and for once she had a shift that suited me. Having dropped sleepy teen off, I nipped into Hogganfield Loch for a wander- on basis of "well...
 
It has really been an explosive year for amphibian migration. Some of the things I've seen this year I still can't believe took place before my eyes. It all started with a local visit to my trusted pond in the start of February. Despite it being so early in the year for this to happen, I still encountered three european common frogs, as well as two smooth newts. Next came the incredibly low temperatures for the region, which saw everything head back into the ponds. For a long time even...
What is the diff between the hawke 8x42 ED x and the 8x42 APO apart from price i have the sapphire 8x42 and looking to get a new set any advice thanks.
I've mentioned before that Scotland's council areas bear little relation to logic. Or geography, for that matter. The current guidance is to stray no more than 5 miles from the boundary of your local authority to begin your outdoors exercise. This opens vast swathes of land miles away from home, while closing off places that are much, much closer. 20- odd years ago, I studied at Lancaster University for a year doing an MA. Sadly, I missed the chance to go birding, as my time was spent...
Hi my name is Tom i am from London ,i have only today joined your forum i live currently in amsterdam netherlands,.... i have a curious question of which maybe some one could help me on,,, that is a long time ago in the late 1980s i visited some friends in the north of germany , and i was suprised to find that a species of sparrow of which i found so interesting were just the same as our common house sparrow only difference being that they had a spiked form of feather which protruded from...
After the excitement of Mrs Green Sand's big number birthday, I fell back into the routine of working long hours, and watching the feeders. I'm of an age where 3am toilet breaks are a ting, and thankfully the song thrush can reliably wake me up before my bladder does. I'm definitely trying to find the positives there.... Anyway, another positive of putting in long hours is the build up of flexi credit, and the tantalising promise of an easing out of lockdown in the near future so I can...
A quieter week this week, no midweek birding wanders, but a lot of gazing out the window at the feeders. I call this a productive use of my time, whether my boss agrees or not. The plus side is that the local housesparrows have re- discovered the garden feeders. While they're not the most melodious of birds, I associate their cheeping with my childhood of having 10-15 in my garden at one time. A simpler time. Last Saturday's dalliance with Swedish furniture was a (relative) success...
I was planning to include last week and this week in one post, but it turns out I have too much to say!! Part 2 will follow tomorrow- ish. So, Mrs GS was due to enjoy a 'big number' birthday last Sunday- she refuses to call it a 'big' number and prefers 'significant' as an adjective. However you wish to describe 50..... My idea to get up at 7am on Saturday instead became a lazy morning watching my garden feeders. Plans, eh? Sunday was written in as a family day, as it should be...
Avid readers of my ramblings will recall that I'm blessed with three wonderful children and an equally wonderful wife. You may also recall that none of them really share my love of standing still in mud staring at trees. Each week is partially taken up with 'Dad duties' and occasionally they encroach upon the weekend- which was always 'Dad time' when they were younger. Last weekend was one such time, when youngest child needed a lift to his (socially- distanced) tennis match and eldest...
After last week's sulky blow out, I approached the weekend with a sense of optimism and a determination to to actually enjoy being out. The week at work (in my living room) was much better and the garden feeders were far busier than they had been previously. Even the magpies scaring everything away allowed me to appreciate both the plumage and their grace and agility of these chronically under- appreciated birds. Saturday was family duty day, and Sunday dawned with one last Dad- task...
Quiet week, and quieter weekend. Both in terms of birds, and of 'life events.' Garden watching saw the usual suspects, with the addition of long- tail tit onto the garden list for the year. Meanwhile, my friends- both within 2 miles of my house, in different directions- are fed up with the number of redpoll they're getting in the garden. If anyone can explain this, please let me know. As always when you're working and reduced to staring at a bird feeder, you end up desperate for the...
 
I was out this morning walking around the Old Telegraph Station in Alice Springs and was watching a pair of Galahs in in a Red River Gum. The female was standing in the fork of the tree rubbing the side of her face on the trunk of the tree. This went on for some minutes. What was also interesting was that this part of the tree seemed to be a different colour as if was a frequent activity. This was happening about two meters from the nest hole they had in the tree. I would be interested in...
his newly described species is listed as Critically Endangered because there are no known populations and the last record is from 1971; consequently if it does remain extant it is assumed that any population must be tiny. The species was collected on the Llano de Ovejas, a small plateau at 2,400-2,800 m. This species has been discovered solely based on three speciemens in musea. It had been collected last in 1971, the two other speciemens are undated. In fact, in conservation terms there is...
Much quieter week this time, which made my weekend so much better. Working from home- the new normal- secured only the usual garden birds. Cheated a little by putting mealworms on the windowledge, which got a magpie close up. Otherwise, quite quiet on the feeders. This, the dull, grey weather, and short hours of daylight added to the gloomy atmosphere. This of course and the worsening pandemic making it difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel. On that subject, Mrs Green...
Managed to sneak out locally on Saturday afternoon. Still a bit dodgy underfoot, but this was my only chance of the weekend to get out- my Sunday had been nobbled for dad duties. And when I say 'Dad' I mean 'doing whatever the boss chick had planned for me.' Anyway, back to Saturday. My mate Bill, he of the encyclopedic local knowledge, had tipped me off about woodcock and dipper at the abandoned village of Caldervale- better known as Fin Me Oot. The woodcock had been rooting about at...
So, lockdown is back. Stay close to home is the official advice, although the online advice says you can travel up to 5 miles beyond the boundary of your local authority for outdoors exercise. Hmm. I think I'll take my cue from the healthcare professionals who begged us to stay close to home. Lockdown means birding plans are cancelled. Though I'd admit that with dozens of people in Scotland dying daily from Covid19, it'd be pretty churlish to get too upset by it. For the time being my...
 
At times I do see the Rose-breasted Grosbeak in the Fall. This is the firs time I have seen this young one in the winter. I got a picture of the young one and the mother. I'm I right? Thanks. The baby looks more red in this photo. Different lighting?
Freedom!! The lockdown had lifted, sort of. The consistent fall in infection rate in Scotland meant that by the start of July, we now had more freedom to go further afield, albeit with the usual caveats about not being stupid. Caveats which not everyone adhered to, sadly. Now was the time to rescue what we could of the birding year. Working full time and having family duties (mostly as a glorified taxi driver) meant that my limited opportunities to get out had to be planned carefully...
LOCKDOWN!! Stay indoors unless absolutely necessary. Only go outside for an hour's exercise a day, and stay within a mile of home. Don't meet up with your friends. Don't mingle. Overall, don't die. Lockdown brought out the best and worst in a lot of people. The initial fright and seriousness of it all gradually gave way as people got used to it all. The canny among us found ways to keep to the rules, without being restricted by them. We re- learned our local patches, we dug out...
Our local Bald Eagles [in Pembroke Pines, Florida USA] are having their ups and downs as winter approaches. Normally the pair would reunite at the nest in late October and begin repairing the previous year's nest in early November. The nest is in particularly bad shape, as they had to raise two broods last season and it was damaged by storms which included Tropical Storm Eta... There has been no evidence of restoration attempts since the pair were first seen together at the nest site on...
Where did the time go? Its amazing, every year I set myself targets/ goals/ ambitions for this birding life, and included in these without fail are to keep up with this blog. And, as you may notice, every year this fails miserably. This, for obvious reasons, hasn't been any normal year. It has both dragged, and flown in. Each day seemed to last forever, yet here we are in December. The uncertainties of last spring and summer have given way to new uncertainties for next year. Do we...
 
Take a look at this video I took at Footsteps Eco-Lodge, The Gambia in June 2020 https://footstepsinthegambia.com/gambia-birding/african-paradise-flycatcher/

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