Types of bird watching

Bird watching which is also known as birding is the observation of different species of birds as a hobby or some recreational activity. There are many ways to do this; you can use your naked eye, telescope or some other instrument, or you can just enjoy the sound of birds. In most cases the sense of hearing is very important because many birds are easily recognized by their voice rather by their visual. So it’s really important to use your auditory skills well when you are birding.

Types of bird watching

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Bird watching is a very ancient hobby and has been going on for hundreds of years but the term bird watching was first heard in 1891 and also bird was declared as a verb in 1918. There are these two terms which are used interchangeably first one is bird watcher and other is birder but it has been seen that many bird watchers prefer to be called birder rather than bird watcher because it doesn’t involves the auditory aspect of watching birds.

In most parts of the world birders want to be differentiated from bird watches because they feel they are superior then bird watchers when it comes to intensity and love for this hobby. But the difference is only subjective and anyone who watches birds can be called a bird watcher or a birder, it really doesn’t make much of difference. These birders describe themselves as someone who observes birds deeply by identifying every bird by their visual and by their voice; they also seem to follow the habitat, food cycle and the pattern of their migration from one place to the other. While a normal bird watcher is someone who watches bird just for the purpose of enjoying nature by seeing them from their own house or from a nearby part and they don’t seem to be interested in the kinds of birds or anything related to the birds. To differentiate these different types of people who observe birds a magazine was released which mentioned the types and how each type is different from the other.

First one is birder, this person is someone who watches birds not just for a hobby but he takes this really seriously and follow this thing like a professional who likes to learn everything there is related to birds. There is this term birding , it is defined as a hobby of enjoying the natural beauty of birds , their habitat and everything there is related to the lives of birds. At last there is this term bird watcher, this term is used for a person who observes birds for no reason or specific purpose at all and this type should not be compared with other types because they are serious about the life form of birds.

There is this term used for finding a bird and is called twitching while the previous term that was used for this was chasing but this term gained popularity and was soon accepted by everyone. Twitching is basically locating a bird you have previously seen and is rare in the nature. People seem to misuse this word and confuse it with the term birder which is a very big misunderstanding because a person who does twitching will travel long distances to see a single bird that he has seen in the past. Continue reading

Bird Watching guide

You do not need to be an expert to appreciate the beauty of birds. If you just like to watch them in their natural habitat but not learn everything about them, that’s totally fine. It is in human nature to be curious about these things and often bird watchers turn to books and the internet to learn more about them.

The more time you spend watching birds the better you will get at identifying them and tell them apart. Time spent at nature reserves and wild life sanctuaries can help you become family with different species very quickly. This speeds up your learning because it would be extremely rare to see so many different species in such a short space of time.

After some time in the bird watching game you will notice that books often don’t show real life representations of each species. Each bird can change dramatically from season to season and from when they are young to old. For example during winter birds will often “puff up” their feathers making them look larger. Colours or markings might be faded or distorted. This is why going out regularly to watch will improve your skills so much.

One of the most reliable ways of identifying birds is through their song. Even if a birds shape, size and colours are unique a birds call will be the same and distinctive. Learning these distinctive sounds does take time but again being around in their environment will really help speed up the learning.

How to Make Bird Watching Fun with Games

With all of the modern technology of today parent’s are finding it to be more and more difficult to get kids out of the house and into nature. Most children these days would rather bury their faces in phones, i pads, or any electronic device than go outside and play in the way that previous generations did. Therefor, parents are being forced to get creative in order to get their kids interested in nature.

One approach that some parents have decided to take is to incorporate games based on nature that include natural components. One of the most popular choices has been birds. The sport or hobby of watching birds has been a long practiced tradition. There has been a great deal of research about the therapeutic properties that bird watching can offer as well.

However, it can sometimes be difficult to jump start a child’s interest in bird watching if they do no possess a previous interest in birds or the hobby itself. A great way to get them interested is to turn it into a game. One great example of a bird watching game that can be played by children or adults is bird watching bingo.

If you are interested in trying out a game of Bird Watching Bingo for yourself you can purchase or download the cards online. Or, for even more fun, you can make an arts and crafts project out of creating the cards with your children by cutting out the boards out of paper and randomly attaching pictures of the types of birds that are native to the area you will be watching. If the children are young, they are more likely to retain their interest if the game is easy enough for them to win so be sure to include some highly common species on the boards. Remember to leave the middle space as a free space on each card and mark it as such. It would be a good idea to laminate the cards if possible, or place them in a fitting Ziplock bag so that they will be reusable. Use a dry-erase marker to mark off the squares as needed.

Here are some basic directions for playing the game:

Distribute the Bird Bingo cards to the players. Explain that you will be going outside to look and listen for birds that live in your local area. As you hear and see the birds, have the players mark their boards. The first player to get an entire row horizontally, vertically or diagonally would call out “BIRDO.” You may also want to include some special patterns, like four corners, in order to keep things interesting.

If you would like to be able to play the game indoors due to poor weather, you can do so by visiting this website, which contains pictures and sound clips of birds which can be played at random so that each player can mark off their boards as they make a match.

That is all you need to begin getting children interested in getting outdoors and find a possible life-long hobby.

Ireland’s Fascinating Birds

Ireland is a fascinating country in which to do bird watching. There are so many species that a person could be intrigued endlessly. Here are just some examples of birds that you might be able to see if you are there at the right time of year.

Tree Sparrow

Tree SparrowLocal in the east of Ireland but scarce along the west and south coasts, North Slob in County Wexford is one of the best sites to see them.

Slightly smaller than the common House Sparrow, adults have a brown cap on the head, a large patch of white on the face with a black smudge under the eye, a black bib on the throat, underparts that are washed brownish, and upper parts that are brown with black streaking. Juveniles have grey on the face rather than white.

Their diet consists of split grain, seeds, buds, some insects, and all kinds of scraps from a bird table.

Little Egret

Little_Egret_flying_with_neck_retractedYou will see them along the coasts and rivers throughout Ireland, but they are scarce in the Midlands and north-west of the country. Little Egret was rare in Ireland before it started breeding there in 1997. They are now in almost every coastal county and at a number of inland sites. They breed in lakes, estuaries, marshes, and flooded fields.

This white heron is medium-sized, has yellow feet, black long legs, black bill and two elongated feathers in its plumage.

Whooper Swan

Whooper SwanThis is a winter visitor from October to April throughout Ireland around inland wetlands as well as grazing on aquatic vegetation on open shallow water, rivers, estuaries and by coastal inlets. They are also seen feeding on grasslands, spilt grain and potatoes on lowland cultivated farmland.

Similar to Bewick’s Swan, it is larger and with a longer neck and has a black and yellow bill. .

Razorbill

A species of Auk, it is highly marine, winters at sea, and is only found on land in the breeding season. Nests on sea cliffs, in secluded nest sites, fissures in cliffs and in screes. This seabird has its head and neck all black in the breeding season with white on the front of the face, neck and side of its body in the winter.

Its diet is mostly some invertebrates and small fish caught by surface diving

If you decide to travel to Ireland, be sure to obtain insurance so that you can rest easy and just concentrate on your intriguing bird watching.

Pigeon Persecution

Pigeons get a rough deal these days. At one time they were popular pets and were admired for their abilities to travel long distances and deliver messages. In places like London’s Trafalgar Square they were considered to be a tourist attractions and tourists were sold seeds by vendors to feed them.

Now that we’re told that they are vermin, pest control companies in London are inundated with work from people who are worried about the damage to health and buildings that they are causing. There is even a ban on feeding them introduced by the major Ken Livingstone in 2003. To combat this an organization called Save The Trafalgar Square Pigeons was set up to feed them in an area that is not affected by the ban.

Are pigeons really so bad?

There’s lots of different types of pigeon but the one that we commonly know as a pigeon is the feral pigeon, also known as the city pigeon.

Some people claim that pigeons spread bird flu but this is not true, it’s been proved beyond doubt that they don’t carry it.

hawklondonThe  main diseases that pigeons can cause among humans are psittacosis, salmonella and paratyphoid fever which they transmit from droppings, but medical experts say that the chances of a human catching them are very rare indeed, we’re being made to worry unnecessarily.

The other charge leveled at pigeons is that their droppings also make a bit of a mess on buildings. This is probably true but then so does lots of other types of pollution in cities. I can however see that numbers need to be managed. Pigeons can lay eggs 6 times a year so the numbers of them can quickly become unmanageable.

To try and control pigeons various things are tried. Some of the main ones that are used are:

1. Ultrasonic devices, that make high pitched noises to try and scare them away.

2. Netting – this is put up to stop the pigeons getting to buildings to roost and nest

3. Chemicals – sticky chemicals are put up to deter the pigeons from roosting

4. Anti-perching devices –  To stop the pigeons landing, Pest control London advise using these large spikes  to deter the pigeons.

5. Hawks have been introduced in some places like Trafalgar Square to try and scare pigeons away.

For me however pigeons are unfairly maligned. As a bird lover I enjoy seeing birds in the city. Obviously it’s not the same enjoyment as you get from bird watching but I think they are attractive birds. It’s sad that our views of pigeons have changed so much, leave pigeons alone!

 

Photography and travel in the Lake district UK

Lake District, the beauty of England, is a heavenly place where all the tourists travel for the breathtaking and mesmerizing natural charming scenes. Lake District is located in North West of England and is well known for its great and natural attraction. There are more than 80 lakes including the West water lake which was honored as “Britain’s Favorite View”.

Modes of travel in Districtlake district

There are so many ways to explore the Eden. To discover the true nature, beauty, sights, sounds and aroma of the district you have to travel by foot or by bike. The Lake District offers the walk for all aptness from the simulating coast to coast to some of the beautiful short walking routines which is perfect for walking and relaxing in holidays

Whilst in Eden we visited a local pub where there was a game of bingo on. Me and my group decided to join in with the locals. It was good fun with a low cost of just £5 to play with a  jackpot of £100. Unluckly I didn’t wind but it was worth it just for the “crack” so to speak. There are a few local pubs in the towns area all still maintained to a traditional standard. I found there are a bunch of new online sites here if you are interested.

Lake District was mapped for cycling with stimulating off road mountain biking routes to gentle country lanes.  It is not just some best cycling tracks in the country; it has a fantastic laid out map which completes the cycle network. There are cycle hire points, repair shops electric bike hire points with some dozens of electric bike charge points.

You can also travel to the Lake District by bus, train or your car. The train has two rail links in the area. The Oxenholme to Windermere line connects the main West Coast London – Glasgow Line to the Central Lakes, it is one of the best ways to travel the center of the lake without car. Car is not a suitable option for travelling, if you need to travel to far end corners of Cambria.

Top Three places to explore in Lake District

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If you want to explore the best out of the Lake District here are the top three places to visit. These places contain the most beautiful, panorama scenes where you can take photographs and see one of the masterpieces of the world.

1. Coniston Water and Coniston village

It is the third largest lake in the English Lake District. It is five miles long and half a mile wide. The lake is ideal for kayaking and canoeing and there are number convenient sites for launching and recovery. The lake is half a mile down from the village where  there are shops, restaurants and places to eat and if you are a  art fan then John Ruskin’s home is open to visitors with its beautiful garden and outlook.

2. Windermere Steamers

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A visit to Lake District is sour without a visit to Windermere steamers. It is one of the largest and one of the most beautiful places in the district. Travelling by boat is the best option to discover the true natural beauty of the lake.

3. Greendale and Middle Fell, Western Fells

Lake_District_near_Torver

This side of the Lake District boasts spoilt and simple beauty. The area doesn’t get as busy as the Lakes heartlands due its inaccessibility so if you want to travel alone for a walk head to this side. This side has a remarkable beauty of Wasdale and timeless views. It has a beautiful landscape which is best for hiking.

Saving up for Scottland

Previously In my time off traveling and in an effort to save money I have taken up a 2nd job. I’ve had a few poor career choices in my time, I was a bartender at the local pub and even worked at a 80s night club. A few years ago I decided it was a good idea to get a forklift licence as it opens up many options. I have worked in a warehouse as a forklift driver before and recently I went back to doing just that to save some extra cash.

Now I have some extra time and money saved up I decided to head over to the Highlands in Scotland for some birding and it was brilliant. Got some fantastic shots and saw some amazing views. There is a bird watching club and wildlife club (BWWC) which I took full advantage of. The do several tours of the area and help you get to the best spots.

During my time there we saw pink footed geese, reindeer and dolphins in the sea and black throated divers. All of which were breath taking. There are several places to book a tour at and most are priced around £50-100. Some of the main areas on tour include; Ayrshire, Borders, Caithness, Central Scotland, Clyde, Dumfries, Fife, Highland, Lothian, Moray, North-East Scotland, Orkney, Stewartry, Tayside and West Galloway. With such a mix of wildlife and the contrasts of ocean and land there is always something new to see.

Equipment used for birding

bird hide constructionGeneral equipment used for birding includes binoculars, a tripod and a sports scope. If you have a bigger budget or may want to set up a birding club (provided you have funds and land for it) you may even want to set up a hide. Hides look similar to guard towers; the idea is to conceal yourself from the birds to watch them closely in their natural setting. In setting up such a large structure you will most likely need help from a local builder or construction company.  There is nothing stopping the casual birder from doing things on a budget. All that is really needed is a good set of eyes and some knowledge of birds.  The internet or a good guide will help polish your watching skills.

As this is a birdwatching blog and we like to be eco friendly and kind to the environment, I would recommend some solar panels. These can be used to power lights, heaters and other items. They are going to be cheap to install and you don’t have to worry about bills. Idea for buildings such as these that may be far out from any electrical sources.

Some recommended further reading:

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/renewableenergy – latest news and updates

The Birdwatchers Laws & Code

birdwatching laws and codes

Image: David Kjaer

Most of what I state here is going to be common sense but it’s good to keep these things in mind. Millions of people enjoy bird watching in the UK and there are likely going to be a few cases of foolishness. Make sure you avoid any legal issues and be respectful of your surroundings including your neighbors.

  • Read about the law of the countryside and make sure to abide by them
  • Before making any press releases of rare bird sightings make sure you think about the ramifications for the local area and people.
  • Be respectful of wildlife and nature.
  • Do not disturb or try to handle the birds.

If you are trying to use private land you must get permission from the landowner otherwise they may press legal action.

If you find a birds nest never try to handle it. If the Chicks are disturbed or the mother smells foreign smells in the nest she may abandon the chicks before they are hatched.