Who am I?

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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!


Friday, 5 November 2021


I had started to prepare a blog entry about the Matt Hayes "Limited Edition" centrepin but, because of what I've witnessed today, it will have to wait. Bev and I have spent a very lazy day at home, with just a brief excursion to deliver some paperwork to my Pensions Adviser. I was in the garden early doors and it was very clear that there had been an arrival of Blackbirds. There were also a few Redwings about so I took a quick stroll around the Newlands farm land to see what I could find. Zilch would be a great summary until I reached the "Old Rose Garden" and almost trod on a Woodcock! Bloody hell, it made me jump. There were a small number of Redwings feeding on the various berry sources, but they weren't prepared to pose for the camera. I continued on my circuit only to flush a Snipe from the edge of the cauliflower field beside the main footpath. Absolutely crazy as a dog walker had passed the same spot just minutes before.

Common Snipe flushed from the field margin

I got back home and spent the majority of the time in the garden. What I was to witness absolutely blew me away. There was a steady movement of thrushes passing over the Newlands farmland but, the fact that Blackbirds were the main participant certainly isn't something I've seen previously. I spent nearly four hours watching the sky to the North and East of my position (purely because the angle of the sun meant I couldn't look towards the South and West) My totals are as follows:-

Blackbird - 331 mainly west (several groups of 20+ biggest one being 37 strong!)

Redwing - 193 west

Fieldfare - 5 west

Song Thrush - one heard calling, somewhere to the south, but unseen

Starling - 83 west

Sky Lark - 2 west

Common Buzzard - 3 south, 1 north

I've been exceptionally fortunate, over the years, to have witnessed avian migration at many locations. Sometimes the number of individuals involved is mind numbing, however, never before have I seen Blackbirds moving on this scale. To do so from my own back garden made it very special indeed. I had the camera kit to hand, although seeing what modern technology is capable of delivering, I do wonder why I bother sometimes?

A Matt Hayes centrepin review, yes that's what I need to do - sod the inferior camera work!


  1. This garden watching intrigues me - do you actually just sit in the garden for four hours, staring at the sky?

    1. No mate, although it is true that I was outside, in my garden for four hours, it is my hearing that plays a key role. The passing flocks are generally quite vocal as they pass overhead, thus alerting me of their presence. The local gulls react when a Buzzard appears, thus I am pre-warned of the approaching raptor. There's always something to do. Weeding, tidying up or just pruning the tangled mass that constitutes my garden hedge. My camera kit and binoculars are kept close to hand for when the birds signal I need to use them. Great to hear from you, hoping all is well in deepest Sheppey - take care - Dylan

  2. Ah, that sounds more sensible, I couldn't imagine just sitting there staring at the sky all that time. Pretty quiet on the reserve that I Vol. Warden on Sheppey (34 years a Vol. Warden this year). Wildfowl numbers are very low, still waiting for the first Whitefronts and winter passerines are only appearing in very small numbers.