Birds, birding and travel, from the Isle of Wight to around the world



Ever since a ‘drought’ was declared back in April, it has done nothing BUT rain for the past couple of months, barring a nice 10-day warm spell toward the end of May. I can remember the fine summer of 1976 when it was hot and sunny for what seemed like months and months (I was only six years old then, so maybe it wasn’t as long as that). The Government of the day, in their infinite wisdom, appointed a ‘Minister for Drought’, whereupon the fine weather promptly broke down and the wet stuff returned. Funny how, every time a drought is declared, the rain comes back but when a drought is declared over, the reverse never happens.

According to the BBC, 500 people were treated for hypothermia at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee river pageant last week. Hypothermia – in JUNE! Osprey chicks at the Dyfi Osprey Project in Wales have died and people have been flooded out of their homes and camp sites.

Anyway, it’s still droughting down outside, torrentially now. The water companies and DEFRA know where they can stick the hosepipe bans and the so-called ‘drought’.

You can stick your drought up your arse

Couple of sightings from my work rounds today – current job gets me out and about a lot – two Pied Flycatchers, one GS Woodpecker, a couple of Buzzards. Not much about but who can blame them in this crummy weather?

Red Kite

My sister lives in Newbury, Berkshire, which is on the southern end of the current UK range of Red Kites. The kites are slowly spreading south and one or two turn up here from time to time. However, none of my visits to my sister – the most recent of which was yesterday – have let me get any decent shots of the birds at all. One flew over the house yesterday afternoon but I failed to get a close shot.

In the absence of a decent kite shot from Berkshire I’m going to cheat and upload three photos I took in Oxfordshire in 2008, on my way home from the Bird Fair. I’d taken a detour off the motorway to a place called Shirburn, which has loads of the birds.

New website

My website can now be found here:

I’ll keep a blog going here, as the website has no integrated blog software. It’s also handy for travels because it’s easier to log into a blogging website, when not at home, than into the ftp server for the main website.

A new beginning

I scrapped my old Blogspot blog a couple of months ago as I had got fed up with it and it had become dormant (i.e. stagnant). I was doing very little photography and almost no birding so there was no point in carrying on, as I had probably lost my reader as well! I’d also got kind of disillusioned with the whole birding scene – everyone seemed to be seeing better birds and having a better time than me and I dipped on every bloody rarity going! The hunt for my ‘own’ birds never turned up anything out of the ordinary either. Not only that, looking at the superb photos from other birders on the net just made me want to chuck my stuff in the nearest skip. However, I am trying to get back into the groove and so the blog lives again, but integrated with this website. This blog will feature not just birding but other wildlife, such as mammals, plants and insects. I am also going to try and get decent photos of common species rather than poor photos of rarer species – if I am ever able to catch up with any!

I have not been out birding since early winter, although I did see a few new birds during my latest trip to Texas in April and I saw a living Roadrunner for the first time (the previous sightings had been uncountable ones of RTA victims). All those visits to the west of the state and I see a Roadrunner on a friend’s drive in New Braunfels! I am hoping my next visit will turn up a male Painted Bunting…

I am still on the Isle of Wight, still living the same life and doing the same old stuff, although I am contemplating returning to Ecuador, possibly for good, when my elderly dog passes on. Once she is no longer with us, then nothing will be keeping me here…we’ll see.

Hear are some photos of White-tailed Deer at New Braunfels, 30 miles north of San Antonio. Click on each one for largest size.