Thursday, July 18, 2024
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HomePet NewsBird NewsDavid Campbell: when a birder migrates

David Campbell: when a birder migrates


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Birders have a lot to consider when transferring home. Never thoughts the council tax band and whether or not the world remains to be ‘up and coming’ economically – we have to know the way shut we’re to the closest marshes and whether or not there are any good main traces for seen migration.

Moving quite a lot of miles can utterly change one’s birding prospects. It may be powerful to say goodbye to an area patch. After all these years of placing in hours at a favorite website, attending to know its birds and building a powerful patch listing, the considered making it work long-distance would possibly even cross your thoughts. But a clear break is for the very best and a brand new space affords an thrilling contemporary begin.

Just ensure you time it proper so that every one the packing and unpacking does not conflict with key weeks for migration. I ended up wishing I hadn’t stalled for time when my companion advised a summer season transfer a few years in the past. Much of September and October final 12 months had been taken up with shifting 60 km east alongside the Sussex coast from Worthing to Hastings.

Although the cut up into two fashionable counties is successfully ignored for chook recording and aggressive itemizing, the transfer from West Sussex to East Sussex meant swapping a flat and depressingly urbanised shoreline for rugged, underwatched clifftops and thrilling wetlands inside simple attain. Entering an upgraded birding area however with out having to desert my county listing, I could not have hoped for higher.

This Olive-backed Pipit, solely the third for Sussex and a fantastic inland prize, was a parting reward for David on his old patch (David Campbell).

A Common Kingfisher flashed previous the top-floor window as we heaved the primary few containers as much as the ‘dumping room’ in our new home. I’d already scrutinised the habitat in our new space on Google Maps, so I knew there have been no water options shut sufficient to make this an everyday sighting. It appeared like an excellent signal.


New home, new patch

Thankfully, autumn nonetheless had sufficient fuel left to present me a style of native birding as soon as the important unpacking was completed. Although there appeared to be few ‘resident’ birds across the backyard, the benefit of dwelling on the high of a hill was clear each time I stepped exterior to listen to migrating finches, hirundines and Meadow Pipits on faucet.

Sorrow at forsaking Cissbury Ring, my former birding haven in Worthing which noticed me off with the invention of the primary Olive-backed Pipit in Sussex for 20 years, was quickly forgotten with a incredible realisation. 

Hastings Country Park had been the apparent alternative of native patch. However, utter laziness on the subject of mountaineering up and down hills to walk to its west edge, and a miserly angle to parking fees, led me to take a look at a relatively titchy space of comparable terrain nearer to home.

I’d dreamt of a place similar to West Hill, however I hadn’t thought it existed. The habitat seemed extremely promising however pleasingly simple to cowl. From one spot, it was doable to regulate a sheltered gully whereas logging overland migration and seawatching. What’s extra, it was a protected space to deliver my canine, Bentham, alongside, with nothing delicate for her to disturb.

The subsequent day the climate was so terrible that I’d needed to cancel a birding tour, however I used to be straight again out to West Hill. A Ring Ouzel appeared within the bushes as I made my approach to a cushty seawatching position on the base of the hill. My long-awaited first Balearic Shearwater in Sussex flew previous, adopted by one other. This was all of the proof I wanted that I lastly had glorious birding a brief walk from home. You do not get that on Zoopla.


  • This column first appeared within the April 2024 version of Birdwatch. To be the primary to learn the journal every month, take out a subscription to Birdwatch, or get the journal alongside your chook information by subscribing to both Bird News Ultimate (paper journal) or Bird News Ultimate Plus (digital access).

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