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!


Sunday 14 February 2016

Enjoyment without boundaries

I have been out birding along the coastal strip for the past two mornings. Nothing much, just ticking a few boxes as required for my own 2016 year listing effort. Just to let you see how serious this is, today I added Shelduck, Red-throated Diver and Gannet, plus a couple of other bits; birds which would have been out of the way before 09.00hrs on Jan 1st if I was, anything like committed to the project. If I don't make the effort to visit the coast, these species are highly unlikely to occur along the Royal Military Canal or the drains, thus I need be proactive! My total still hasn't reached 90 species yet, so I must try harder? Not a bit of it - I am happy to continue on the journey through 2016 without pressure to achieve anything within my birding other than to savour the various opportunities to look at, rather than ignore, those species which cross my pathway. Living and fishing in/around East Kent means that I am very lucky, purely because of the geographic position - we experience more than our fair share of avian highs during a calendar year.

Adult Whooper Swan at Naccolt, Kent (2005?)
As this list is for no other purpose than to allow me to keep tabs on my own progress, I will include all species seen (in a wild state) wherever I am. County, National and International borders mean nothing to birds and, therefore, are also irrelevant to my own efforts. I just wish to discover how many species I encounter during the year, wherever I travel. My guess would be around 220 - I'll be very interested to see what the actual figure is? The only birding data which I still maintain relates to my Newland's "patch" and I consistently record 85+ species during the year - 117 being the best total in 2005!(I was still very keen back then!)

Black-winged Stilt - Mallorca 2007
Because angling has now, once again, become my primary purpose for being outdoors, I make no secret of the desire to set myself goals then attempt to achieve them within that discipline. It is a competition between myself and the fish, and not a challenge to the rest of humanity! Some time in the next few weeks I will dust down the 125w MV and begin my garden mothing for the year - it will be as focussed or relaxed as the whim takes me, moths are not high on my list of priorities - but I cannot deny the pleasure they provide when shared with my grand-children. Likewise with butterflies, I will see what I see but doubt, very much, if I make any efforts to deliberately seek them out - one possible exception being when we return to Kefalonia in the autumn?

Hoopoe - Gran Canaria Jan 2004 (we were on our honeymoon!)
Bumble-bees, dragonflies, grasshoppers, crickets, bugs and all manner of other creepy crawlies will, no doubt, provide interest during the seasons - but there is no plan. I have made a promise to myself that I will attempt to find a plant which I find interesting, have never looked at previously (cheers Steve!) and write a blog about it, with accompanying photos. To be perfectly honest I'm quite taken with the idea; I must need medical help? I have still to capture a March eel and have already stated my desire to land four carp over 20lbs (one on the MK IV would be perfect) - anything else will just happen as time passes. I'm not an angler, nor a birder or pan-lister, I am me and the natural world is my playground - not my prison. I have recently been viewing some Youtube stuff, looking for ideas for other projects, and came across some old Frank Zappa offerings. I'm not a fan, but Steve Vai did play with his band, so there is a link. I saw his son, Dweezil, doing some stuff and was made aware of this magnificent quote. "Your mind is like a parachute - it only works when it's open!"
I hope to continue on my voyage with this thought prominent in my conscience - it's an absolute belter! The accompanying photos are purely for effect - random images of no particular consequence beyond the obvious pleasure that is seeing the birds involved.

Adult male Rock Sparrow - Halkadiki Greece (2009?)


  1. Hi Dyl, I imagine that Rock Sparrow would cause a stir if another one appeared in the UK.

    1. Rich - you're probably quite right. I have just re-read Steve Gantlett's account of the first one (14th June 1981) in my copy of Best Days with British Birds. Fortunately, my own memories of this species are in sun soaked quarries, amongst olive groves and rough grazing in Northern Greece. Happy days!

  2. It'd probably take a good birder to know one though, many of us would just dismiss it as a female House.

    1. Derek, from my very limited experience with the species - they're highly unlikely to occur in habitat suited to House Sparrows and their territorial calls are very un-sparrow like. I wouldn't think that many birders would mis-id one under these circumstances? - Dyl

  3. I wouldn't dismiss a female House Sparrow. I haven't had one in the garden since 2004. I see more Buzzards, Red Kites and Little Egrets now.