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A belated hello (1 Viewer)


Well-known member
Hello everyone.:hi:

I first popped in here a while ago now to get some help identifying a mystery bird, and that's what I have been using (abusing) the forum for on and off since. But life is about give and take so I want to contribute more to the forum, where I can. Which probably isn't in very many places, or very often, but let's see how it goes.

One thing I will say is this place is biiiig! Too big, potentially, as I often find myself wondering where I can best get started and offer what little wit and wisdom I have to share. The bird ID Q&A section has been my main port of call to date but it's knowing where to start and slowly spread out from. Incidentally I have tried using the exclude feature in the control panel to limit what I see but that doesn't seem to be working. Oh well.

As I said I have been around the bird ID area recently but most of the threads seem to be about birds I have never heard of, let alone seen to be able to help with IDing them. So I am leaving it to the many experts that seem to be around the place.

A little bit about me may help explain why I can't help identify many of the American & European birds being posted.

I live around south-west London (a few miles outside Wimbledon) so my local patches are Richmond Park, London Wetland Centre and on occasion walks along the River Thames, into Bushy Park, Home Park etc.

I've been birding a few years now and am keen to pick up more on the subject as I go along. I'm trying to pace my learning with my experience levels, if that makes sense. While it may be useful to know the difference between various types of North American finch, for example, it's not going to do me much good out in the field around here. Chiffchaff v willow warbler, on the other hand, much more relevant.

What else?

I'm on my third pair of bins now. I started with a pair of Barr & Stroud Skyline 8x42s that I have passed on to the missus - or rather she adopted them when I 'upgraded' to some Olympus 10x50s (DPS-I maybe) because I wanted more magnification and a greater objective lens size. Or at least I thought I did. They proved too heavy to use comfortably for long periods so have become my kitchen windowsill bins when I bought some Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 8x42 bins earlier this year. I must say I am delighted with them too :)

On the optics front I also invested in a scope - Celestron Regal 80F-ED - which I love. This gets mounted on either an Opticron universal hide clamp or a Sirui travel tripod (TX-25?) which I am also really chuffed with. I didn't want a heavy tripod as I'm a public transport birder (no car) but I wanted one that would support the weight of the scope and collapsed down small. The Sirui fits the bill perfectly!

I draw the line at spending 'silly' sums of money on bins and scopes, hence the Bushnells & the Celestron scope. I have seen through Swarovski optics and as beautiful as the images may be I simply can't imagine spending a couple of thousand on something like that. I'm really happy with the equipment I have and it was a fraction of the cost of Swarovskis.

So, that's me. I plan to be around and about here more these days and hope someone can point me in the right directions. The areas that interest me most as a noob to these parts are the blogs and local patch threads but these don't seem to have the same life to them as other parts of the forum so I dunno at this stage. Maybe I can kickstart something...


chris butterworth

aka The Person Named Above
A belated welcome to Birdforum Mat. It can be a bit daunting on here at times ( and can seem to be full of clever bu**ers ;) ) but you soon get used to it. When you go into the ID forum there are a couple of thread jobbies at the very top. One of them is for an ID index of all species discussed so if you just want to check on what features to lookfor before going out birding open that, input the birds name and there a wealth of info at your fingertips. A local patch thread from Central(ish) London is a good idea, as there isn't much regular info from that area and I'm sure a lot of people would like to follow what's going on. Here's Arthurs thread from the Central Park area of New York to give you an idea of how much info such a thread can provide http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=199223&highlight=Central+Park Above all, enjoy your birding - and enjoy Birdforum. :t:

delia todd

If I said the wrong thing it was a Senior Moment
Staff member
Opus Editor
Hi Mat and a warm welcome to you from all the Staff and Moderators. Thanks for introducing yourself.

I'm sure you will enjoy it here and as an ex-Londoner I look forward to hearing your news.


Well-known member
Thanks for the welcome & info, Chris.

Clever bu**ers I can take, and sometimes appreciate. I do sometimes feel like a first-year mixing it with sixth-formers and college professors though! The fact I know a little bit about a few relatively common birds isn't going to that useful but I'll pick up more, I'm sure. Getting out and about and seeing more birds in more environments will help. I did pop down to Dungeness on a guided weekend tour last year and while that was really interesting I think it was too early in my birding for me to get the most out of it. Another few years and I'm sure I'll appreciate things like that a lot more.


Picture Picker
Welcome to BirdForum! I am sure you will find lots to interest you here, and I hope you enjoy your visits.

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