Who am I?

An individual, of no great importance, who is unable to see the natural world as a place for competition. I catch fish, watch birds, derive immense pleasure from simply looking at butterflies, moths, bumble-bees, etc - without the need for rules! I am Dylan and this is my blog - if my opinions offend? Don't bother logging on again - simple!


Saturday 23 March 2013

Bloody North Downs!

Steve Gale left a comment, a while back, making reference to non-birding stuff (music on that occasion) with the hint that "top-ten" sandwich fillings could be worthy of blogging? Visiting his site, yesterday, I see that his "top-ten" idea has been given a further airing - this time his subject was birding encounters, but who knows what it'll be next time? Drat and double drat!! I too had been toying with that post. So as an attempt to keep within the theme, but not plagiarising the ideas of others, I have trolled through the archives to find my top-ten birding images that I have taken.

It is a very personal thing, "best", yet I hope to explain why each image is included. Technically they are quite basic - to me they are memories and so much more!

No. 1 - Black-throated Diver: an adult in full breeding plumage. This bird was one of three that frequented Kilchurn Bay, Loch Awe, during April 2012. The stunning plumage pattern, with the intricate markings of the throat and upper breast combining to produce a stunning mix. Throw in a beady red eye and the water droplet - job's a good un!

No. 2 - Golden Oriole: digiscoped from the balcony of our apartment at the Anna Marie complex, Pefkohori, Halkadiki, NE Greece. Our first holiday to mainland Greece and we had a blast. The weather was superb and the birding way beyond anything I'd previously encountered on our travels. There were many better sightings; yet this image sums up the holiday!

No. 3 - Alpine Swift: my first day in Icmeler, Turkey. I'd climbed to the top of a small hill (where the Turkish flags flies proudly above the town) to be surrounded by masses of Alpine Swifts. I have no idea how many shots I took, but do know that this one is a bit special - for me.

No. 4 - Cretzschmar's Bunting: We could talk all night and leave it all un said! This bird was a fabled creature, the Holy Grail? Spoken of by birders, within my clique, with such reverence. When I finally set eyes upon the species, a great longing, a huge weight, had been lifted - a magical experience which I savoured in my own company - I'd done it my way.

No. 5 - Hawfinch: Simon Mount found this individual feeding in gardens at North Foreland in April 2009. A species which has almost enigmatic status within the UK - a delight to be able to get such an intimate portrait in a Thanet cul-de-sac !

No. 6 - Common Crossbill (Crossbill sp.): I'd specifically targetted this species and travelled to the Clowes Wood complex, just beyond Tyler Hill, in order to get my image. It took several trips, yet this effort seems to encapsulate the period and do justice to this very smart little finch.

No. 7 - Lesser Spotted Woodpecker: Another target species from the Spring of 2009. This stunning male performed in the sunshine at a site near King's Wood, just outside Canterbury. Just the best time to be out and about, early spring in the Canterbury "ring woods" - Buzzards "mewing", drumming woodpeckers, singing Nuthatch and Treecreeper - Brimstone butterflies; wonderful memories.

No. 8 - Black-winged Stilt: another holiday image from Greece. This bird was present for a couple of days around a small marina. Some careful stalking and a huge slice of luck allowed me to get this shot. Again; very happy memories.

No. 9 - Cattle Egret: a digiscoped shot of a  breeding adult at a colony at S'Albufuera, Mallorca in June 2007. The approaching storm clouds producing a dramatic back-drop to the sunlit bird perched in the tree top along the reserve entrance track.

No. 10 - Red-rumped Swallow: an adult male singing from the exposed metalwork of a building site in NE Greece. Not showing the usual grace of these wonderful fliers - this shot recalls my time wandering around Halkadiki and the fantastic encounters I had.

I'm sure that there are many other images I could have used but, as a first attempt, these aren't a bad selection. Firecrest, Goldfinch, Kingfisher and so many more could have been included, there's not a single raptor or owl - hey-ho! If I was asked to do it again next week - maybe 10 different images?


  1. A great selection Dylan, my favourite is the Red-rumped Swallow. What about your top ten favourite places to fish? I'd like to read that.

  2. Steve,
    Many thanks for taking the time to post a comment. I have been thinking about several variants, around your original concept. The ten people who have most influenced my life is an ongoing project. Ten fisheries? Possibly not - the ten favourite locations to be Dylan - now that's a whole new ball game. All the best and keep looking - Dylan

  3. Great Stuff Dylan. A few of those seen are often at my regular holiday hangout (Spain) I was there a few weeks ago. ps.. if you get any spare Java Sparrows after breeding I'd be interested .. and Diamond Doves .. Simon