27 – 28/04/2013 – A weekend interviewing

I’ve had something of a busy weekend, conducting two interviews for forthcoming articles.

Yesterday I took the train out to Bridlington to interview Martin Garner of Birding Frontiers fame. We had a really interesting chat about his work and birding outlook, and spent a bit of time in Flamborough, which is Martin’s new patch. There I got to see an Iberian chiffchaff which he co-found a couple of days ago – the UK’s first non-singing bird of this species, plus a first for me in the form of a dark-bellied brent. As I somehow have managed to avoid a coastal trip so far this year, I also got some of the typical seaside year ticks including guillemot, razorbill, kittiwake, gannet, shag and a couple of puffins, which took a bit of work to find among the auk rafts! A handsome peregrine patrolling the cliffs was also a great addition to the day.

A few ropey shots…

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Today I spent the morning closer to home with Jon Hornbuckle. A Sheffield-based birder who has been highly active in conservation work and birdwatching in the area, he also happens to be one of the world’s most prolific world listers, sitting at second place in the Surfbirds league with a not too shabby total of 8,977! It was great to hear his stories of both home and abroad, and we spent some time exploring the nooks and crannies of Sheffield’s post-industrial east end looking for black redstarts. Sadly the search was fruitless, but it showed the amount of suitable habitat in the area, and finding other birds such as singing willow warblers and swooping sand martins in places where birders very rarely explore was really inspiring – surely there’s some black redstarts still lurking in there somewhere, waiting to be found!

So a great weekend spent in the company of two inspiring birders. Got a busy week ahead, but I’m hoping to get out onto patch at least once or twice – time for cuckoo, whitethroat, garden warbler and swift on patch! Also keep your eyes on the Peregrine webcam next week – with the first egg laid in late March, we’re about due for some chicks…

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Pete

My name is Pete

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