Growing up and birding a coastal town, Blackpool, meant that my bird watching was able to be very varied as a youngster. I found my feet birding around the Fylde, in local bird groups and often traveled on organised trips out to various locations. Networking naturally came as part of these events and I came to meet some fascinating people in my local area.
I was taken under the wing of my local ringing group in 2007. Seumus and Phil were my newly adopted family, enthralled by bird ringing and migration, my interest manifested. Birding became a really worthwhile part of my life, I began to take notes and I started to feel really confident with my personal reliable records. I started to bird a patch, Marton mere LNR and kept religious notes. My findings were interesting, thought provoking, fluctuations in numbers and species were always noted, even no data collected is good data. I was introduced to Birdtrack and thoroughly enjoyed recording the daily comings and goings in my garden, patch or wherever.
By 2010 I was a fully licensed C permit holder for the BTO allowing me to live capture, mark and release birds in the UK, by 2011 I had landed myself a job in Sweden heading up survey work and leading an international team of bird ringers at a site called Kvismaren Fågelstation. I also travelled and worked in Falsterbo during the autumn of 2011 and finally ran ringing studies down in Southeast Denmark at Gedser Fuglestation. In 2012 I repeated the process and in 2013 I worked only at Gedser and only for 6 weeks (early autumn). My time out in Scandinavia was incredible, I was lucky enough to meet and work with some great people. I learnt so much about migration, behaviour, pressures on birds etc. My passion for birds has grown into an insatiable thirst for knowledge, everything we see can pose questions, results from bird ringing recoveries for example, answer one question, leave many others unanswered.
My passion for data collection is astonishing, clean data sets encourage me to gather more and more info, 'citizen science' seems the buzz word nowadays and I not only love to contribute to my own notes but data can also be important on a national or international scale, so join in, submit your sightings, enthrall and enjoy yourselves.
The reason for this post is not only to promote the ease of citizen science websites such as Birdtrack, but to inform that my blog will be changing slightly as I look to answer more questions or ask more questions regarding bird behaviour, migration, breeding stategies. I will also look into the fact that migration never stops, it only slows.
I would like to thank all the people that have played a huge role in making me into the birder and data cruncher that I am now, particularly the following few.
Seumus Eaves, Phil Slade, Ian Gardner, Kane Brides, Steve Christmas, Bo Nielsen, Magnus Persson, Martin Carlsson, Jan Sondell and last but not least Louis Hansen.