Most walkers will often ask themselves ‘I wonder what that bird is?’ at some point along their favoured trudge, before moving on none the wiser.
On my most recent walk (Shoreham to Eynsford, December 3, 2015) I was lucky to spot a little egret (instantly recognisable) at Shoreham, and later a troop of long-tailed tits followed me along the hedgerows beside the Darent.
Soon after this I came to a young tree with plenty of seed heads draping from its thin branches. There appeared to be no birds in it but I could hear the whirs, whoops and clicks of finches. As I neared, a never-ending stream of birds left the tree – incredibly there must have been at least 75 in there, goldfinches or siskins. Being silhouetted I couldn’t tell exactly what they were.
Now, my mate Dave would have been able to tell me – and in a pleasant non-anoraky style too. He’d also have known what kind of tree it was, what type of birds make that call, and deduced what species they were from what they were eating (if he was on form). If Dave had been there we’d have spotted and heard so much more, but I was on my tod, so apart from the usual jackdaws, robins, parakeets, various gulls, mallards and blue tits, I saw nothing else. But there are a host of exciting birds on these walks – from various owls to tiny goldcrests – and it’s worth knowing what they are, even if you never see them!
So with this in mind I invited Dave to write a page for this website, and here it is.