Whooper swans seen from the house in Anne's flooded field.

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We are not “twitchers”; I don’t even keep a lifetime list. But we both like bird watching and using birding as a vehicle to visit and explore new places. I (John) have always been a bit of a birder since I was at school although I never took it particular seriously. In Africa there was the opportunity to see a very wide variety of, sometimes splendid, birds and if I recall correctly I had a count of about 270 species during the 18 months I was there; but the list is long gone and forgotten. Again in Bahrain I often carried a pair of binoculars with me but I never made a record of what I had seen.

A young tawney in our yew tree

While I was at Wardell’s birding became a little more serious, not least of all because there were a few others with a similar interest; we went on a three bird races in Staffordshire and we came first on one occasion and won a trophy of sorts. Since I retired I have had the time an opportunity to take it a bit more seriously and on some holiday trips we have made an effort to see endemics or birds that we would not otherwise see in UK. There have been some memorable forays to the Canary Islands, Majorca and in spare hours during numerous business trips to Cyprus. But still no list.

We have also recently been on four organised bird trips, with Naturetrek, and we thoroughly enjoyed the experience not least of all visiting places that we would never found on our own and also talking to like minded people.

Our first trip with Naturetrek was to Morocco in 2006 and this was by far the best and most memorable; we went back in the camper van to visist some of the haunts in 2014. In 2007 we went on their Extremadura and Doñana trip. It was good but not as exciting as the Morocco trip and while the two leaders were both excellent birders they were novices when it came to organisation and management. Nonetheless we enjoyed it very much and, again, we have visited many of the locations in the camper over the past few years.

Later on in 2007 we tagged a birding trip to Goa on the back of a visit to see Liz in India. Again this was with Naturetrek; the birding and the countryside were marvellous but the management and accommodation disappointing. Our fourth trip with Naturetreck was to Ethiopia. The tour was good and the leader, an Eritrean, Merid, was excellent. Unfortunately this opinion was not shared by other members of the party that put something of a sour note on the trip. We also stayed on for a few nights in Addis on our own.

In 2008 we went to Barbados, with Linda and Robin, for some Winter sunshine and took the opportunity to do a bit of birding.

At South Low we are privileged to live in an area that is a birders delight. I have kept something of a list of what I have seen from the garden or overflying. A list as below 2016 (to be added to as and when) although it is quite likely there is some omissions as my record keeping is rather lax!


Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea
Little Egret Egretta garzetta
Mute Swan Cygnus olor
Whooper Swan Cygnus cygnus
Greylag Goose Anser anser
Canada Goose Branta canadensis
Wigeon Anas penelope
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos
Goosander Mergus merganser
Osprey Pandion haliaetus
Red Kite Milvus milvus
Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus
Goshawk Accipiter gentilis
Buzzard Buteo buteo
Kestrel Falco tinnunculus
Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus
Ring-necked Pheasant Phasianus colchicus
Moorhen Gallinula chloropus
Coot Fulica atra
Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus
Lapwing Vanellus vanellus
Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago
Curlew Numenius arquata
Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus
Herring Gull Larus argentatus
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus
Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus
Wood-Pigeon Columba palumbus
Collared-Dove Streptopelia decaocto
Cuckoo Cuculus canorus
Barn Owl Tyto alba
Tawny Owl Strix aluco
Little Owl Athene noctua
Short-eared Owl Asio flammeus
Common Swift Apus apus
Great Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos major
Green Woodpecker Picus viridis
Skylark Alauda arvensis
Swallow Hirundo rustica
House-Martin Delichon urbica
Pied (White) Wagtail Motacilla alba
Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea
Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis
Goldcrest Regulus regulus
Wren Troglodytes troglodytes
Dunnock Prunella modularis
Blackbird Turdus merula
Fieldfare Turdus pilaris
Redwing Turdus iliacus
Song Thrush Turdus philomelos
Mistle Thrush Turdus viscivorus
Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochilus
Common Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita
Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla
Whitethroat Sylvia communis
Lesser Whitethroat Sylvia curruca
Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata
Pied Flycatcher Ficedula hypoleuca
European Robin Erithacus rubecula
Common Redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus
Long-tailed Tit Aegithalos caudatus
Willow Tit Poecile montana
Coal Tit Parus ater
Great Tit Parus major
Blue Tit Parus caeruleus
Nuthatch Sitta europaea
Treecreeper Certhia familiaris
Jay Garrulus glandarius
Magpie Pica pica
Jackdaw Corvus monedula
Rook Corvus frugilegus
Carrion Crow Corvus corone
Common Raven Corvus corax
European Starling Sturnus vulgaris
Reed Bunting Emberiza schoeniclus
Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs
Greenfinch Carduelis chloris
Siskin Carduelis spinus
Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis
Bullfinch Pyrrhula pyrrhula
Hawfinch Coccothraustes coccothraustes
House Sparrow Passer domesticus
Tree Sparrow Passer montanus


Below are links to pictures taken on our various birding expeditions.

Birds seen in Barbados 2008

Birds seen in Ethiopia 2010

India - Birds and animals

Our first Moroccan trip


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