In search of hawfinch!

Over the last couple of weeks I have been trying to take advantage of the recent 'invasion' and see a Hawfinch for the first time. These birds are normally difficult to see as they are quite elusive and tend to be seen in only a few sites around the UK, with the Forest of Dean being one of their strongholds.

On New Years Day I visited RSPB Pulborough Brooks, in hope of seeing one as they had been reported there nearly every day. Braving the heavy rain, I headed out to the reserve. After hearing someone say "hawfinch!" behind me I had a look but by the time I had got my scope set up the small dot in the distance had flown off! After waiting for about 10 minutes to see if they reappeared I carried on walking around the reserve, ticking off 26 species whilst doing so. In the west mead hide I managed to see whooper swan, a lifer, through my scope in the distance. I also saw barnacle goose, lapwing, canada goose, teal, starling, wigeon and pied wagtail.

So with seeing 2 s…

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! A summary of 2017...

With Christmas being only a day away and 2017 drawing to a close its time to reflect on what I've done and achieved this year.

I was pleased to have been able to write an article in New Nature, a newly founded magazine which  is written by young naturalists. I also finally managed to see Waxwings, a beautiful bird that breeds in Scandinavia.

My favourite photo this year was taken in February, of a robin in a snow flurry at RSPB Pulborough Brooks. This month I managed to go birding a lot, seeing barnacle and white-fronted geese for the first time at Cuckmere Haven.

In March I saw a drake goldeneye, which was a lifer! I also was lucky enough to write another article in New Nature magazine, called 'why is birdwatching uncool?' and I wrote a blog for Wildlife Watch (Junior branch of the Wildlife Trusts) on finding nature in urban areas.

I launched my photography website thanks to Zenfolio and visited Old Lodge Nature Reserve where I saw redstart, woodl…

Take part in our bright future campaign!

Being a young person who has a strong interest in wildlife and the environment I believe it is so important for other young people to be interested as well. Not only does it benefit wildlife and the environment but it has its benefits for us as well. Just being outdoors in nature has been proved to be good for you. Therefore I am glad to be supporting the 'Our Bright Future' campaign. Here's some more information about it:

'Our Bright Future is an ambitious and innovative partnership led by The Wildlife Trusts which brings together the youth and environmental sectors. This £33 million programme funded by the National Lottery through the Big Lottery Fund is formed of 31 projects across the UK. Each project is helping young people aged 11-24 gain vital skills and experience and improve their wellbeing. At the same time, they act as catalysts for delivering change for their local environment and community; whilst contributing to a greener economy.' Recently they launch…

A rather cold morning at Old Lodge

A chill in the air and the crunch of frost under foot, it was a beautiful morning at Old Lodge Nature Reserve in Ashdown Forest.

Walking on the main path of the reserve, the first bird I noticed was a Raven. This massive member of the crow family flew past me, its deep, croaking call echoing throughout the woods. Among the trees were a few coal tits flying from twig to twig, feeding on the conifer seeds. A couple of goldcrests joined them, also feeding on the trees's seeds.

The cold weather had brought the robins out, with one perched very festively on some holly. Walking through the now rather dull looking heather, a pair of stonechat were perched on top of a surprisingly flowering gorse bush. When you stop and listen, you can really hear how the stonechat's call sounds like two stones being knocked together!

Further round the reserve I heard the harsh call of the skulking dartford warbler, the same place I saw one last time! It perched on top of some gorse and at one point w…

A few thoughts...

Having been birding now for 5 years, with almost every weekend including some sort of time immersed in nature, I thought I would write a few of my thoughts.

The first one is about birding or just generally having an interest in the natural world. Usually when I go out to a nature reserve for example, I am not the only birder. But I can guarantee you I will be the only young birder who is a girl there. Occasionally I may see another boy, who has an obvious interest in birds but other than that it is either men or older people, now why is that?

Is it the fact that most teenagers are stuck indoors in front of a screen? Or is it that they genuinely don't know how interesting and thrilling the natural world can be? Or could it be that they don't have access to the countryside because they live in a city? Well for me it is a combination of issues. One of them is the stereotype of birding or having an interest in nature, I don't tend to tell new friends about my hobby because the…

A bit of autumnal birding!

On Sunday I finally got out birding and went to RSPB Pulborough Brooks in West Sussex. The weather was very autumnal, the orange, yellow and red leaves were being blown of the trees by the strong wind, the lasting mark of storm Brian. The jackdaws and crows were making the most of these gusts, tumbling and diving in the air, almost playfully. Soaring past them I spotted a beautiful red kite, being mobbed by a crow. The bright light only enabled me to see its silhouette but it was a great view never the less.

Walking down the path, a kestrel was hunting in an adjacent field, hovering, then diving down into the grass with such speed and elegance. This time the kestrel was unsuccessful. Looking out of the first hide there was a relatively small group of wigeon and teal, bobbing along on the rather choppy water. A few lapwing were hunkered down from the wind around the edges of the lake and there were 100's of canada geese with a few greylag at the furthest point of the view. The red …

Review for Haith's

First of all I would just like to say thank you to Haiths for asking me to review their products! I was lucky to receive a mini robin feeder and a 2kg bag of golden chorus mix. When receiving the feeder the first thing I noticed was its simple but quality design, the most important thing that it was so easy to put together, taking under a minute to assemble. I also liked the dome design of the feeder because if it rains the feed doesn't get too wet and therefore doesn't need to be replaced. The golden chorus bird food looked of great quality as well and it created no mess when I filled the feeder up. Hanging the feeder was also super easy, a loop on the top of the dome allows you to hang it on a branch and keeps it very stable. 

I have now had the feeder up for a week or so, the birds took a few days to get used to feeding from it but we now have frequent visitors, mostly blue and great tits, who seem to enjoy the golden chorus mix! Although we do have a very compact garden tha…