This September I started my AS Levels, so for the first half of the Autumn term birding was put on hold for me. I did manage to get one year tick in September though, a Garganey at Attenborough one weekend.
From the 5th - 7th of October, I was on an AS Geography field trip to the Cranedale Centre in Yorkshire, to study rivers. It just so happened that my birthday was during this trip, so I spent my 17th wading through the River Derwent! Not most teenagers' idea of a great birthday, but I really enjoyed it, much better than being stuck in classrooms at school all day, that's for sure. I also found this moth near my dorm one evening, which I later identified as a Green-brindled Cresent, a rather stunning beastie.
On 11th October, I made a trip to Brandon Marsh Nature Reserve, near Coventry, to take part in a discussion, with 4 other young naturalists, about the connection between young people and nature. Our conversation was recorded, and made into a podcast to form part of the Wildlife Trusts' campaign; 'Every Child Wild'. Please see my previous blog to find out more about it, and to listen to the podcast.
October half term was my chance to get out and see some wildlife, starting with a day trip to Norfolk on the first Monday of my break. With gripping photos of all the rarities seen in Norfolk that weekend popping up all over my social media feeds, I was very eager to get out there myself and go birding. So on Monday morning my grandparents and I went to Wells Woods to try our luck with the host of migrants sheltering there. It was a morning of mixed success, with the Red-flanked Bluetail (lifer!) showing fairly well, my photos really don't do this bird justice though! Rather frustratingly, I only heard the Hume's Leaf Warbler that was present, and got untickable views of the Blyth's Reed Warbler. So I came very close to 3 lifers at Wells Woods, but only came away with one. But it's definitely not all about the ticks, the Bluetail was a great bird, and the number of Goldcrests in the woods was quite staggering. Everywhere you looked the trees were teeming with these charming little birds, allowing you to get very close.
We then spent the afternoon at the RSPB Titchwell Marsh, a reserve I always love to visit. I saw 48 species of bird, with highlights of Brambling (year tick), Black-tailed Godwit, a lovely Spotted Redshank very close to the main path, Knot, Greenshank, Turnstone, Ringed Plover, Grey Plover and a couple of hundred Golden Plover in the splendid autumn sun. However the star bird was a Great White Egret that flew over us whilst we were sat in the first hide, circled to the back of the reedbed and disappeared out of view - only the second time I've ever seen one in the UK, and a year tick.
The next day I did some local birding in Nottinghamshire, visiting Besthorpe Nature Reserve and Budby. My granddad and I saw 40 species, including a Green Sandpiper, Redshank, Snipe, several Kingfishers, Raven, Redwing, and a small flock of Redpoll, a year tick.
At the end of October was the NGB trip to Portland Bird Observatory, where we saw some great birds, and it was really nice to go birding with people my age. Please see my blog about the trip.
So despite the lack of birding and wildlife seen in September, October more than made up for it. The 3 lifers (Red-flanked Bluetail in Norfolk, Firecrest and Pallas's Warbler on Portland) have brought my British life list to 239. And 4 year ticks (Garganey, Brambling, Great White Egret and Redpoll) have brought my year list to 182, not bad!
I'm Sorrel, a young birder and wildlife artist based in the East Midlands - this is my blog all about my birding and wildlife adventures.