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Do We Have Any Bird Watchers, Birders or Twitchers Here?

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Do We Have Any Bird Watchers, Birders or Twitchers Here?

Postby RompinDonkey » Tue Jul 02, 2013 6:24 pm

I'm just asking.

I have always loved the wildlife progs on the TV, but have always liked watching the sensational stuff - the lions and tigers etc. Something "clicked" with me a year or so ago, that as small as some of these birds are, they fly thousands of miles each year to breed, and then fly all of the way home. That got me interested. Some of these birds weigh less than one of our twenty pence pieces.

Last July I bought some gear and books. Well a lot really - Decent binoculars, Spotting Scope and Tripod. Then I discovered that July tends to be the month when the birds have raised their young and start molting - so not a lot of birds to see really. We then had a very wet summer.

I have seen a few new birds (for me) this spring and am starting to get better at the ID etc. I have joined the RSPB and WWT (Warwickshire Wildlife Trust), and now have a much better opportunity to get to places were the birds are. Middleton Lakes and Brandon Marsh are now available to me. (whenever the WWT send me my card).

I've discovered that the more that you learn about birds, the more fascinating the subject gets. It does really produce acute excitement at times!

So - any birders here?
Alan

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Re: Do We Have Any Bird Watchers, Birders or Twitchers Here?

Postby Piperman » Tue Jul 02, 2013 6:30 pm

Unfortunately, no.
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Re: Do We Have Any Bird Watchers, Birders or Twitchers Here?

Postby RompinDonkey » Tue Jul 02, 2013 7:20 pm

Piperman wrote:Unfortunately, no.


That's ok.

I remember the last time I mentioned something like this, one member, who must be very aware of conservation and our enviroment, suggested something like that as birds shit on our cars, they are bad.
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Re: Do We Have Any Bird Watchers, Birders or Twitchers Here?

Postby Dodger » Tue Jul 02, 2013 7:47 pm

RompinDonkey wrote:
I remember the last time I mentioned something like this, one member, who must be very aware of conservation and our enviroment, suggested something like that as birds shit on our cars, they are bad.

As a non driver I think they are good for doing that :D

I would class myself as a passive bird watcher ie I like watching them ,but do not go looking for them .
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Re: Do We Have Any Bird Watchers, Birders or Twitchers Here?

Postby aquaholic » Tue Jul 02, 2013 7:49 pm

I enjoy watching birds, although I'll be the first to admit I don't know a whole lot about em. Doing a fair amount of kayaking on local streams and rivers I do see a good amount of kingfishers and blue/green heron.
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Re: Do We Have Any Bird Watchers, Birders or Twitchers Here?

Postby Russ » Tue Jul 02, 2013 8:51 pm

Sure...have bird guides, mark off different ones when spotted, have field glasses for watching them, etc. We have the usual suspects here in NE Ohio...cardinals, robins, basic yellow finches...my next door neighbor has a humming bird feeder so occasionally I'll get a glimpse of one of those. :)
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Re: Do We Have Any Bird Watchers, Birders or Twitchers Here?

Postby RompinDonkey » Tue Jul 02, 2013 9:02 pm

Dodger wrote:
I would class myself as a passive bird watcher ie I like watching them ,but do not go looking for them .


Mmm - that's about where I am at the moment I think. As a keen walker/hiker, I still walk, but now pay far more attention to the birds. I have started to read and learn more about them though.

Now the "Twitcher" - that is a different animal all together. These guys carry a "pager" at all times, and if there is a rare bird alert, they drop everything and will travel hundreds/thousands of miles to get their "tick" on a bird.
Alan

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Re: Do We Have Any Bird Watchers, Birders or Twitchers Here?

Postby ScotsJim » Tue Jul 02, 2013 9:03 pm

I used to have a bird house in my garden when I lived in a more rural location and fed the birds regularly. It was mainly dozen of house sparrows that fed from it. ( they lived under the eaves of my house at the time ) I'd also occasionally see a jay who visited sometimes and sat in my cherry tree. The old lady next door also fed the birds and she attracted lots of these different brightly coloured small birds. ( Some were bluetits perhaps ? ) Another regular out the front garden was this funny wee bird that ran along the ground. ( pied wagtail ? )

As for red kites. I am sure I read somewhere that they were solitary birds but I used to see anything up to a dozen at a time gliding on air currents above the house. I think they released these red kites at Stokenchurch with the idea that they would live in the woods of the Chilterns but they chose to hover above the villages instead as food was easier to find. I believe some folk ( none of my immediate neighbours though ) were leaving pieces of chicken and the like on the roofs of their garden sheds to attract them. I recall reading an article in the Bucks Free Press discouraging people from feeding them in the hope that the red kites would head to the woods rather the villages. But above the villages they stay.

I know little about birds really but always enjoyed watching them in my garden and delighting in their wonderful and varied song so I can well understand the fascination Alan :)
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Re: Do We Have Any Bird Watchers, Birders or Twitchers Here?

Postby daveinlax » Wed Jul 03, 2013 12:26 am

Sort of. We have field books and glasses at hand We do two bird (feeder) counts every year. Lately we've had a few rare (in the middle of a city) Piliated woodpecker sightings and have Catbirds stick around all summer for the first time. We are year round feeders/birdbath in a perfect location with very close cover. Our home is on a side channel of the Mississippi River and we have three Eagle nests nearby so we see them daily along with a Falcon that likes our large walnut tree. We host a couple of Bard Owls. We have to clean up after their dinners, yuk! Along with the local water birds the river is a major migratory flyway we see thousands of Pelicans and Tundra Swam along with the northern ducks that pass through. It's quite a sight to see thousand of huge white bird quietly floating past your deck. :ugeek:
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Re: Do We Have Any Bird Watchers, Birders or Twitchers Here?

Postby HCraven » Wed Jul 03, 2013 12:39 am

I just moved to a house near a fair sized wooded area, and I've been seeing a lot more than the typical garden variety robins and cardinals around here though I always enjoy seeing those as well. I've noticed that cardinals in particular always seem to go around in mated pairs, though perhaps other birds do as well; it's just easier to tell the male and female cardinals apart. Anyway, there are a fair number of woodpeckers around here given all the trees. I've spotted downies, red heads and I think there's even a pilleated woodpecker or two about. I've spied the suspect birds only at a distance, though their size and telltale chirps, which actually do sound a bit like the mocking laughter of Woody Woodpecker, seem to give them away. I've had a hummingbird buzz me out on the patio as well, so I plan on getting a feeder for them. I'm no expert by any means, and I need to invest in a good set of binocs and an Audubon guide now that I'm settled, but it's a nice companion hobby to smoking my pipe when I'm outside.
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Re: Do We Have Any Bird Watchers, Birders or Twitchers Here?

Postby Frizz » Wed Jul 03, 2013 12:58 am

I'm more of a rambler really, and out here in the (american) west, usually we're scrambling over bare rock well above the tree line most of the time and there don't seem to be many birds about. But when I was living back east I'de usually have a bird watchers guide of some sort in amongst the topo maps and the bug juice. :)
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Re: Do We Have Any Bird Watchers, Birders or Twitchers Here?

Postby bearded1 » Wed Jul 03, 2013 1:19 am

Wouldn't bestow a title on me or anything, but do find them fascinating. There are so many kinds and they do some very odd things!

Owls are by far my favorite birds, but darn it, I do love me some ravens (rooks or crows too). Lots of folks hate them, but they are resourceful, crafty little buggers. In the Pacific Northwest, the Native American tribes have many tales of the crow...they play a major role in their folklore and heritage.
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Re: Do We Have Any Bird Watchers, Birders or Twitchers Here?

Postby KevLa » Wed Jul 03, 2013 7:13 am

My girlfriend and I often enjoy watching birds and other wildlife. Her favourite bird is the Swift, while mine, as one might guess from my avatar, is the Peregrine :) It seems we like fast birds! :lol:
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Re: Do We Have Any Bird Watchers, Birders or Twitchers Here?

Postby acaciavet » Wed Jul 03, 2013 1:20 pm

My Bid feeders are outside my office window and every morning they how up for there assigned shift.The Blue jays always arrive first the the ocassional Cradnial the the wrens and sparrows and after that its a free for all. Living in the country we have alot of Owls and Red Tail Hawks. So yes I enjoy what I have.

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Re: Do We Have Any Bird Watchers, Birders or Twitchers Here?

Postby custodian » Wed Jul 03, 2013 1:39 pm

We only put out the feeder during the 3 or 4 months that the snow cover is on... but still have a fair population due to your semi rural setting.

The fox squirrels raid the bird feed mixtures too badly to leave them out all year... although our cat just loves the squirrels when they come up on the deck.

Usually we have Sparrow, Robins, Woodpeckers, Jays, Finches, & Cardinals... the redbirds are my favorite... they come out first in the morning & last in the evening to forage.
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Re: Do We Have Any Bird Watchers, Birders or Twitchers Here?

Postby Taff » Wed Jul 03, 2013 2:30 pm

Can't say as I am an active bird watcher, though I do find them fascinating. I have had the pleasure of an albatross for company on a couple of passages aroundb the Falkland Isles, and of course you have to love penguins! My OM is an avid twitcher and has a healthy band of birds coming to his garden in Devon because of the feeders he has out and about. He gets a load of tits ( :oops: ) in there; great ones, coals ones and blues of course.

I went to Chester zoo a couple weeks ago and had a great time watching the birds fly around in the Tropical zone

Image

Image

I particularly like that little red finch. I snapped these photos with a pretty crappy SLR - an old Sony A200 with a Minolta 70-290mm lens...
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Re: Do We Have Any Bird Watchers, Birders or Twitchers Here?

Postby ScotsJim » Wed Jul 03, 2013 8:26 pm

Lovely photos Taff.
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Re: Do We Have Any Bird Watchers, Birders or Twitchers Here?

Postby Taff » Wed Jul 03, 2013 10:06 pm

Cheers Jim.

I'm quite pleased with the first one there; looks quite good but I got the focus are slightly off on the second - they were a fair old distance away but the idea was to get the two finches (I think that's what they are) in focus and blur everything else. I failed!!! Still, it keeps me amused and they haven't been photoshopped yet either. Photoshop I think can make a good photo very good, but can't save a steaming turd (like my second pic there)!
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Re: Do We Have Any Bird Watchers, Birders or Twitchers Here?

Postby RompinDonkey » Thu Jul 04, 2013 6:20 pm

This all gets a bit obsessive. I'm resisting the urge to get a better camera. SWMBO doesn't know about the cost of the scope (I have explained it all so far by saying that I bought a "stay on case" for the cheap scope that I bought in Aldi). The case cost about £75 (which she knows about), what is under it cost > £1k

Nah ... I am not a photographer, and never will be .... so far :)

The thing is, now my "cellar" is complete, Shirley I can spend a bob or two on other things? :)

EDIT: Those are good pics Taff. I wonder if I need a better camera?
Alan

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Re: Do We Have Any Bird Watchers, Birders or Twitchers Here?

Postby Taff » Thu Jul 04, 2013 6:33 pm

Well you can pick up the camera I use on the bay now for less than a £100. To be honest, if you go down the photography route you're better off spending your pennies on the lenses rather than the body. For example, my DSLR has only 10.2MP (my HTC phone has 8MPs). However, unless you plan on printing bigger than A0, anything above 10MP becomes un noticeable, so don't be bedazzeled by a camera with over 20 MPs or whatever - keep the body simple and spend a little more on good quality glass - that's what'll make the difference in the end.
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