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 28 January 2018

Birds that do it for me

This is the second (I somehow deleted the first draft?), shameless, effort at a post which is a plagiarism of some original thought by Steve Gale . Birds which make me happy to encounter, no matter how often I've seen them previously. Steve has ruled out rarity, because it can induce adrenaline, without optical delight. The birds that make me "fizz" are likely to be part of my annual cycle, yet not necessarily  UK regulars, such is my casual approach to "official" recording areas. I recognize the same man-made/political borders as the birds I look at. Our holidays around the Mediterranean, ensure I am able to get my fix of some fantastic species which, if their UK appearances were a factor, I would struggle to record.

Golden Oriole

My encounters with this species go right back to the early 1980's and time spent fishing for Zander on the Ten Mile Bank, just outside of Eley, in Cambridgeshire. I even found a nesting pair way back then! The Bryant & May poplar plantation, at Hilgay, was Golden Oriole central for every twitcher at that time. To know that I can expect to see these spectacular birds, during the course of a twelve month cycle, is a great comfort. Doesn't prevent every sighting being a "Wow" moment; they are forever birding royalty.


A species which was a fancy image within the pages of my first "Collins" Field Guide. I saw my first on a family holiday, Tenerife 1978, and have seen them in many other holiday destinations, and even in Kent, since that original sighting. That spectacular crest, striking black and white wings and tail, which can morph into a stunning orange/pink vision just cannot be ignored, however many I see.


A bird that I worked really hard to see when I started out "twitching". I found it difficult to comprehend that it was a woodpecker, it behaving in such a skulking manner. It was Spain that allowed me to see another side to this cryptic plumaged bird. Brazenly feeding along field margins, perching on fence posts and generally showing off. I've been lucky to find a few in Kent over the years, but it remains a holiday bird for me.


If a child painted a picture of a bird using the combination of colours involved in this magnificent species they'd be told to tone it down. The mix of bedazzling colour and enigmatic calls make this bird a must see on every trip around the Mediterranean.

Alpine Swift

A bird that reduced me to a gibbering wreck when I discovered one flying above North Foreland Golf Course on 29th March 2010. It was a long awaited Kent tick and a very enjoyable experience. Although I have plenty of previous encounters whilst travelling around the holiday destinations of the Med. To see the massed flocks assembling over Corfu town, as dusk falls, is spectacular and involves many thousands of birds. I've watched them hunting over Turkish hillsides, Greek farmland and Kefalonian mountains. Every time Bev and I board an aircraft, these fabulous birds are at the top of my wish list.


  1. Golden oriole; one was seen on our Junior school field but I deigned to look for because it probably wasnt one. I am sure it was but eh ho.
    Hoopoe. Love them. Med spots for me thoughh they do show up very locally to here it seems. Love the dipping flight course that mohican.Saw a wrymneck in Sandringham Wooods when on a family gallop. Sinous birds. Equaly sinuous is the much more colourful nuthach which I saw locally for the first time in my life barely a month ago. Bee eaters seem to favour Winterton but yet to see one.

    I did se a dartford warbler in Colchester as a pre-spotty yoot. Still remember the checker board plumage and red eyes.

    My favouirte bird apart from kingfishers are peewits and oyster catchers In flight the oystercatcher has a startling white V on black wings. at rest it has a comedy carrot for a beak.

    Saw a nighthawk in Portugal. Not suprsingly at dusk..

    1. BB, I could have made a case for many more species that hit the spot. Locally I could include Bearded Tits, Nightjars and Woodcock, slightly further afield would be Red Kite, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker and Siskin whilst other holiday birds could have also included Purple Swamp-hen, Audouin's Gull, Egyptian Vulture and Stone Curlew.
      I think that there is few better sights than a Dipper, when sitting quietly behind the barbel rods. A soaring buzzard or that silent fly past of an evening Barn Owl can enliven the dullest of days. Just having the ability to look beyond the rod-tip to see what else is sharing your world - all the best - Dylan

  2. All fine choices Dyl... a strong Mediterranean theme there as well

    1. I couldn't find fault with any bird, in any destination, but these five species stand out in my life with Bev. We have been very fortunate to have been able to travel widely around the Med during our time together.The choice of species is, therefore, a very personal slant on a blank canvas of opinion. Firecrest, Hawfinch, Bearded Tit and, even, House Sparrow might make the top ten, given my present mind-set about all things birding. Apologies for the flagrant theft of an original idea - Dyl