I’m not dead!

Yes, I haven’t updated this blog for a month, but I haven’t died, and I haven’t given up blogging! Early this month I got married, and preparations for that (plus the honeymoon!) meant I didn’t have much time to get out and do nature-spotted stuff, and even less time to blog about it – especially as combined with this was finishing assignments for the conservation course I’m doing, meaning I had very little spare time.

But now I’m all married up, and normal service can resume!

Before the wedding I had a field trip to the Burbage Valley, where some good stuff was spotted including some cracking ring ouzels, plus tree pipit, cuckoo and a nice early hobby. The first swifts were over the house on 30th April – much earlier than last year when I didn’t get a single one until 5th May. House martins were much later, however, and I didn’t manage any until I got back off honeymoon. It’s been a mixed up spring, with some things arriving slightly early and others surprisingly late!

The wedding was ace, and we even managed a bit of birdwatching…

A bit of wedding birdwatching!

Then we spent nearly two weeks in Sorrento in Italy for the honeymoon. Of course I was on honeymoon and wasn’t birdwatching, but of course you can see a lot of stuff while you’re not birdwatching! The Mediterranean beauties on display included bee-eater, serin, woodchat shrike, hoopoe, Sardinian warbler and alpine swift. On Capri I also found this trumpeter finch at the top of Monte Solaro…

Trumpeter Finch?

…and although I didn’t realise it at the time, this is a very very rare bird in Italy, with the nearest populations in Spain, Morocco and the Canaries. It was a bird in nice condition, which didn’t seem to be an escape, and seems to be a very rare vagrant. Why can’t I find stuff like this in the UK, eh?! I’ve sent a report to an Italian birding site, and will post any news I get on this.

And of course any trips to the Med wouldn’t be complete with a couple of lizard photos…



After we got back I had my final university field trip to Potteric Carr. Present at the time was a vagrant Iberian chiffchaff, and it would be rude not to break away from the group and have a quick look! Luckily it was showing well…

Iberian Chiffchaff

Not the prettiest or most visually arresting rarity you’ll ever see! An interesting bird, though, with a song very different to an ordinary chiffer, sounding like a chiffchaff that’s learnt how to sing!

I also managed to mop up a few migrants that I’ve managed to miss so far, including garden warbler, reed warbler, sedge warbler, whitethroat, sand martin and house martin. I must the be last person in Britain to see a house martin! They really seem thin on the ground this year.

So that’s me back… full service will now resume!


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My name is Pete

7 thoughts on “I’m not dead!”

  1. Hi,

    a couple of us the other day were bemoaning the lack of conservation-related courses (without doing a full degree) so was just curious at to which course you are doing if you dont mind me asking


    ps guess you’ve heard about the broad-billed sandpiper at old moor ?!

    1. It’s the Certificate in Environmental Conservation at The Institute of Lifelong Learning at the University of Sheffield. 2 year, part-time course which is the equivalent of the 1st year of a degree, with the option to go onto a part time Natural Environments Msc at the end. If you need more details let me know.

      Yup, I saw the broad-billed sandpiper on BirdGuides – couldn’t get out yesterday, which is a shame!

      1. thanks for the info, looks a good course, does it involve lots of hours ‘homework’ ?

        i couldnt see anything on the website about the MSc – is this run by another dept ?

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