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ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

Hello, BirdForum! (1 Viewer)


New member
United Kingdom
Good evening! I just thought I'd follow the site's friendly hint and post a little hello thread.

I'm not new to enjoying birds, but I'm new to birding, if that makes sense!

I've always spent a lot of time outdoors, from a country childhood, keeping native ponies as my hobby, a love of walking, and on top of all that I work as a gardener - I'm outside for far more waking hours than I'm inside. So I suppose I've grown up with a grounding in the everyday common birds in my area, along with a few exciting sightings of rarer birds which I've remembered ever since - I was the lucky child who found a golden oriole in my grandad's hedge, the spoonbill spotted from a car park while everyone else was fussing over tea flasks... right place, right time, and always more focused on nature than whatever else was going on around me. I'm still like that now, at almost forty!

A few years ago, I started writing down all the birds I saw in a year, which was fun and made me appreciate them all a little bit more - normally a moorhen or a partridge wouldn't be worth looking forward to, but when it was the first sighting in a new year, I'd be happier to see it!
But this year, I decided it was time to take this appreciation to a more focused level, and start myself an Ebird account, so I could record everything from each trip to a hotspot or nature reserve or different bit of the coast. I've been doing it since january, and finding it very interesting, particularly the challenge of trying to identify every bird I see. I've learnt so many, which in the past would've been written off as something-warblery or one-of-the-waders, and now each one I've got to know is like a new friend, recognised along with those old friends I've known my whole life. Ebird has also been great for finding more places to visit, the little hotspot pointers have shown me to several new nature reserves in my local area.
So far, I've got 128 species on my life list, which isn't too bad considering that less than a year ago, it was under a hundred - I think I probably must have encountered some of those 'new' species before, but just didn't know what they were!
I've bought some more up to date bird books (Collins BTO British Birds and RSPB Handbook) because the one I used to use was decades old and included Europe as well - I thought I'd find it a lot easier to ID by picking my best match from the options which were actually possible, and not birds only seen in Greece or Scandinavia when I was two miles down the road, hah.
I don't have an ideal camera for professional looking photography (no long lens DSLR, just a mid range bridge camera) but I do enjoy taking nice pictures of birds which come close enough, and I find that even bad shots at the very limit of my zoom help a lot with identification. I also use the zoom to get a magnified look at distant birds - I have a focusing problem with my eyes so binoculars have never been a help for me, I can't see clearly through them but I can focus easily on the screen on the back of my camera, so I use that.

So that's that, a little bit about me and my recent foray into being a beginner birder. Are there any handy tips to progress that little bit further in the hobby? Most of what I've read seems to be aimed more at the total beginner, explaining the basics and how to get started, but I'm a little bit past that already. And sadly I suspect a lot of the usual things the serious birders do just won't fit in with my own limitations - I can't really travel further afield, early morning or overnight trips aren't possible cos of my horses needing me around at the start of every day, and I don't have the budget for adding more equipment. Also, I don't have a smartphone, so can't take any app recommendations - I'm sure they're great but I can only do websites!
So was there any advice which helped you find and recognise more birds when you were learning? Any simple but brilliant tip which has always stuck in your mind and proved helpful over the years? Or is it really just a case of go birding often and you'll see more birds?
Hi George and a warm welcome to you from all the Staff and Moderators. What I found helped me at lot in my early days here was to read the ID forums and try and guess what the birds were before I looked at the replies. And also did much the same in the Gallery, browsing through the images there. Very often the positions are nothing like what you see in the books, but are how you find them in the field LOL.

I, too, have a bridge camera and agree that it really helps to zoom in, take a picture, then look at in on the screen. Mine is a Nikon Coolpix P900.

I'm sure you will enjoy it here and I look forward to hearing your news.
Hi, welcome to the forum. I think you will find us a friendly and helpful group.
Hi there George and welcome aboard!

Once a birder, always a birder :)

If you take some time and scroll down our main Forum page and see all the different sections there are you will learn a whole lot🤩. I find myself smiling a whole lot when I’m walking through the woods. Enjoy !!
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