Microadventure day 9: the birds and the bees

This is part 9 of our series on Microadventures. Why not start your own microadventures and let me know? Or take some ideas from here!

Never did I think I’d have such competition for my microadventure! Every time I moved within 30 metres of the dainty wader (a Redshank, I believe), its friend, the black-headed gull, would give it a little call to let it know that a predator was nearby. And off it flew, a further 100m down the stretch of coast. This game was repeated often until the ‘predator’ was one who gave up. Armed only with my phone camera, it never did bode well for getting good shots of birds.

And that was my exploration for the day. Trying to open my eyes to something I’d been brought up to do by my mother, but had miserably failed since.

While Dad and I used to march on walks on high speeds, Mum would open our eyes by stopping us, putting a finger to her lips, and pointing to something moving that we never would have noticed otherwise.

And it’s something that anyone can do, particularly if you’ve a garden, but even if not, you can keep your eyes open even in the hub of cities for unexpected wildlife:

The RSPB give similar stay-at-home challenges for the family, should you have a garden or green area near you.

To help you identify things, if you don’t happen to have someone at your side to educate you, a guide like this one might be handy (though I was given the ’79 edition of Collins ‘Birds of Britain and Europe’, which is fantastic and pock-sized):

And in seasons like this, you may get the thrills of seeing darting swallows, playing around, having migrated thousands of miles into our island. Or alternatively, as you wait to see birds, you may get surprised by other friends (or foe) too:

So did I get any pictures of birds at all on my adventures?!

Well…not really! Perhaps you can make out a few birds in the last one?!

See if you can do any better than me!


Unusual travel: The Battle of the Birds

Ornithology wouldn’t be my usual way to spend holidays, but with a couple of family members interested in birds, it was a fascinating lesson for me and surprisingly enjoyable in the end (despite my urge to always be on the move).  Partly helped by the fact that our best photos of some birds of prey (like the nesting osprey below) came from kayaks!


Arriving back in Cork, I visited Fota House and Gardens and was reminded of one of the highlights of the trip by seeing this great work “The Battle of the Birds” (17th century) by Frans Snyder.  At Loch Inch Marshes, we saw several birds of prey fighting and battling it out in the air in a stunning display.  A hen harrier chasing a heron, ravens mobbing buzzards and much more!  Just a pity I didn’t have a camera with me.  But I’d recommend taking holiday to do something different and mix with people you don’t normally share interests with – I learnt a lot!