Generally, my birding falls into two main
categories – local patch and foreign trips. I don’t tend to twitch, certainly
over long distances, although I am always tempted if I know of a new bird for
my UK list or something juicy in the North-east. This has resulted in a very
limited experience of birds and locations in other parts of the country, hence
the decision to take a week off work and look at birds around the UK.
The original plan had been for three of us
to do this as a group, at least for part of the week. However, circumstances
prevailed, and I was left to complete the task myself, something which I was
more than happy to tackle. I didn’t know where I was heading until the night
before I set off, since the decisions on where to go were to be based on a
balance on which “rarities” had been reported, and the speciality birds from
other regions which I would like to see. The latter would include East Anglia,
the South-west, and Scotland. Since I had spent a few days in Scotland a couple
of years ago, a South-easterly direction on the first morning was the order of
Equipment was simple – a car, walking gear,
optics, video camera, and a few choice field guides (I am one of the first to
admit that I am far from an expert in identification, and they were fingered
well throughout the week, along with the sites guide). Many miles were covered
(over 1600), and the general plan was to be at the preferred location early each
morning, and check for birds on the pager throughout the day. This often
resulted in a journey late afternoon, and finding accommodation early evening.
The latter was often a B&B pub, which strangely all hosted local cask ales.
It would have been bad manners not to sample these!