Monday, 15 June 2009

Small Seeds

Seeing as the birding seems to be drying up as spring ends and I felt like injecting a bit of life into the blog I thought I would tell you, the dear reader a bit about myself and what makes me tick. Im 27. A good age, a man should be physically coming into his prime. If you have met me you will realise mine was several years past but my love of playing cricket has got me playing again this season and im enjoying it immensely. Originally from North Devon I have lived all across England with stops in St. Albans, Stevenage, Shrewsbury, Thornton-le-Dale, Liverpool, York, Slingsby & now Nafferton East Yorkshire. My nomadic tendancies are calming now that I live in a very nice rural setting with my wife of two years, Angela, and our baby on the way in 3 months or so. I have always had a great variety of interests and my natural inclination is to explore new things thus I have played competitively as an adult football, cricket and 8-ball pool. My real talent is at pool although I am very out of practice currently - I once lost to a former world champion, no balls were left on the table and we both had one visit each after i missed a tricky black. As a cricketer I am a limited but enthusiastic batter with top scores of 78* and 75. I still dream of my first century and I will be very happy if it happens. Not if - when :) I play a bit of guitar which is mainly based on a love of guitar music from the 60s to present day. For a long period my absolute favourite band was Metallica but I have an extremely broad taste which ranges from classical to pop via rock, house, rap with good music inspiring me. My favourite songs at the moment are Grounds for Divorce by Elbow and Death by The White Lies. Still. I love technology but am usually really rubbish at using it. Despite this I was very quick to pick up twitter and facebook - less so with blogging although 'the idiocy' is my 4th attempt at a blog and probably the best. I have two different twitter accounts - I am ORNID, a contraction of ORNithological IDiocy and I run #Rarevine - a twitter based UK rare bird information service which is a little more sporadic than I would hope but life dictates. As you may have guessed I am an avid birder. Very avid. Madly so.... My wife is very good and accepts it all in good grace. As a kid I was into animals but without a tangible outlet for this it died out as i grew up. I always knew a bit about birds and can remember seeing purple sandpipers, auks and Red-throated Diver at Filey and finding Great-crested Grebe in Stevenage whilst walking my dogs. After my parents moved to Slingsby i took to exploring the farmland in the locale and I saw my first Whitethroats, Great Spotted Woodpeckers and best of all a Little Owl which used the telegraph pole in the garden as a singing post. This was 2004 and I was a student nurse. I am now a qualified nurse but looking to leave the profession as I have finished a degree in Biology with Ornithology and want to work as an ornithologist/ecologist. Currently I am struggling to get a job but I am eager to make a go of it. My interest in birding started to really bloom in late 2004 as I twitched for the first time (Baird's Sandpiper, Flamborough Head 2004) and randomly decided to go, on my own, to Fife to see a Masked Shrike - my first shrike of 8 species seen in the UK thus far. I have now seen 295 species in the UK, 265 in Yorkshire and over 350 all said. I have travelled to Spain, Egypt, Greece & Barbados and seen plenty of very good sites. 4 years ago I decided to go back to uni and I loved it working very hard and winning academic awards in my first year. Sadly the conflicts of life and work on my degree work have likely meant that I wont achive a first but a 2:1 will be reward enough. Last year I had the good fortune to work a few times monitoring seabirds and cetaceans in Aberdeen Bay whilst being paid!! I enjoyed this immensely and hope to work in a similar field. Last year I also had the fortune to spend a week in the Highlands with the photogrpaher Marcus Conway. We had an amazing time seeing all of the avian delights that Scotland offers with particular highlights including White-tailed Eagle & Corncrake in the same day, Ptarmigan and Dotterel on Carn Ban More, 3 species of crossbill and a male Capercaillie. Very good stuff! Now i view the east coast of Yorkshire as my birding home and enjoy regular trips out.

That was a potted view of me and what makes me tick. And did I mention im looking for a job?

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How brains and birds become mutually exclusive