It is clear that different bloggers blog for different reasons. Everyone has their own perspective, but a few "types" stand out. Some use it as a kind of birding notebook to record their observations. I've done this myself on occasion, as sometimes it seems a better way of recording sightings than a page of dry records in a notebook no-one will ever read. Others use it as a place to post their photos or other artwork. Some use it as a place to discuss areas of expertise, birding, natural history, or other, and some use it as a kind of open diary - a Facebook without the interfering adds. I think all these are valid reasons, and knowing full well the time it can take up for no obvious return I salute all those who put fingers to keyboard to provide information and enlightenment for the birding public. Thank you for lighting up my birding year.
Here are a few personal current favourites from my sidebar. Some are here because they are local to my birding, others because they just coincide with my particular point of view. I'm sure others in different locations will have their own worthy favourites.
- Pewit. Graham Catley has a superb photographic eye for a shot, is a hugely accomplished and knowledgeable birder, and does great work join his patch and elsewhere. He brings all this to his blog which is surely a must-read for all birders. An outstanding blog. Like having a National Geographic online magazine dedicated to humberside.
- Wanstead Birding. Jono Lethbridge's blog is full of fantastic bird shots from around the world as well as closer to home, and a lot of prose about life, birding, and everything. Always worth a read. If I have one complaint it is that the quality of birds he sees in Wanstead shows me what I'm missing just twenty miles or so up the road on my patch. Oh and his photography is really a lot lot better than mine.
- Brett's Goosey Ganderings. Brett is a fantastic Dorset birder with an unparalleled record of finding and identifying scarce birds. I've bumped into Brett on a few occasions round Weymouth and he is always welcoming and generous with his time, knowledge and expertise. He doesn't post very often but when he does they are always top quality posts.
- North Downs and Beyond is Steve Gales's blog from the Surrey Downs. A blog full of wisdom and insight as well as a wealth of wildlife knowledge and experience. In addition to producing a blog full of intriguing wildlife vignettes from his local area, Steve conveys the highs and lows of birding and makes you feel you are with him on his excursions.
- Non-Stop Birding. Peter Alfrey is a force of nature who seems to pack more into a year than folks like me get into a decade. His blog is full of personal views and opinions, music, campaigns, as well as trips to exotic places. There's a certain sense of anticipation on clicking on a new posting; what's he up to now? Where is he? Always an intriguing read.
- The Grumpy Ecologist. A professional ecologist who post only occasionally, mainly on the practical ecology of wetlands. for birders who like to go beyond the list and are interested in the interactions of habitat and creatures, this blog is a must.
- A Dorset Diary. Fantastic photography from one of the UK's premier areas for wildlife backed up by expert knowledge. A fantastic blog which if turned into a book would surely be a wild-life best-seller.
- Stewchat. Stewart's account of his birding and wildlife adventures in coastal Northumberland. This is the area that got me started on this hobby during school holidays. I'd always thought this was a fantastic area for birds and Stewart proves that to be the case. Stewart's blog makes me want to move to rural Northumberland.
Finally some favourite local blogs:
- Seymour Birdies. Alan's blog takes in the local Herts, Essex, and Breckland sites. He goes to the same places as me but always seems to end up not just seeing more than I do but taking fantastic photos of them too. I like his style - minimal text, then lets the photos speak for themselves.
- Little Hadham Birding. Jono Forgham is a top local birder (and excellent speaker at RSPB and similar meetings) who has over recent years expanded into moths and other creatures. His blog contains lots of insights from both the local area and also his frequent trips to Norfolk. A classic naturalist's blog.
- David's blog. David Sampson is first and foremost a photographer who takes fantastic photos of whatever is around, and when there are birds around he takes photos of those. A great eye for a picture.
Its quite likely I've omitted a blog from my list which should really be in here, so apologies if its yours sort one of your favourites. Anyway I hope you enjoy this list.
As for my own undiscovered
turd gem of a blog, I've tried a few different approaches, but in the absence of photographic skill and not visiting birding hotspots enough its a bit of an uphill struggle. I've tried to convey the experience of birding rather than the results. I even put some stuff out on global warming but I feel it is fair to say it went un-noticed by the majority of the country. I think I will ring the changes next year, for no other reason than there doesn't seem any point in having the same year twice. Watch this space!