Archive for the ‘bird watching’ Category

Seven new birds in one trip! Minsmere revisited


Black-necked Grebe ( Podiceps nigricollis )

Originally uploaded by diegocon1964

We finished off our week in Suffolk with a trip to Minsmere on Saturday. Kate and I hadn’t been for ages (the last time we went Meg was two and kicked up quite a fuss). One hurdle to overcome was the kid’s reticence so I decided to adopt a tactic Uncle Garth used on me and my siblings when we were young – bribery! He gave us 5p for every species of bird we identified (with help). Allowing for inflation I decided on 20p, imagining that they might earn a few quid each. Well I’d forgotten what an amazing place Minsmere is. Will is quite entrepreneurial so the monetary reward worked well: between them they saw over fifty (yes fifty) different species of bird! Wow.

I did well too. With the help of a more knowledgeable couple in the West Hide, and RSPB guides around the reserve, I saw my first black-necked grebe, little grebe, ruff, spotted redshank, cetti’s warbler, marsh tit, and mediterranean gull. Good going huh?

The cake in the tea room was good too 🙂

Bird Watching at the RSPB reserve “The Lodge” in Sandy, Bedfordshire.


‘The Lodge’ Sandy sunset (2)

When our kids were small much of our spare time was taken up doing things that they’d enjoy or benefit from, and any free time I had would be when Kate was looking after the kids and so we tended to develop separate pastimes. Now that the kids are of an age where they want to spend time with their own friends doing their own things Kate and I find ourselves faced with the question that I’m sure has faced many parents before us: what interests do we still share now? As a result of thinking this through we’ve returned to lots of the activities we use to do before we had Meg and Will, and one of our new year’s resolutions is to get back into bird watching.

We kicked off this weekend with a brief trip at the end of a busy Sunday to The Lodge, the RSPB‘s reserve in Sandy, Bedfordshire. It took just 30 minutes to drive there from home and although we had less than an hour before sunset we managed to see a brambling (which I don’t think either of us had seen before) and an amazing close-up view from the hide of a juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker on one of the bird feeders.

Great fun – we’ll be doing more of that and maybe even getting some new bird watching gadgets and magazines 🙂