Welcome to a patch-based exploration of birds and birding.  The patch is a random 3 sq km of inland North East Farmland.  Important to know one except those who go there.

MorethanKittiwakes based on the10km square NZ26 was a 2015 ‘sabbatical’ from my patch.  By January 3rd I thought it was a bad idea.  The dog poo, the noise, missing the countryside were all going to be too much.  I wanted to be back.  Then I found a Kingfisher in Team Valley and I realised while this was going to be difficult, the unexpected rewards were going to be surprises.  Some were genuine surprises -Jack Snipe, Goshawk and Redstart.  These were never on a list of likely finds.  It was almost like seeing the bird for the first time.  Out of context birds, like the Stonechat in Gosforth, Eider on the Tyne and Wheatear by Gateshead College, all raised the pulse.

As a year comes to a close I am looking forward to return to the patch –Burdon Moor, Causey Arch and Tanfield Railway.   It has begun to dawn that 2016 has to be different from this year.  And what could be more different than taking a species and following it over 12 months?

Curlew is quickly becoming that species which could influence the shape of 2016, as the restrictive boundary of NZ26 is lost.  So the plan, if this loose association of ideas can be called that, is to bird the patch with its 94 species in 2014: the blog will focus on the patch.  Each month there will be an exploration of Curlews.  I will probably spend as much time by the Tyne but, nowhere is out of bounds: I can go to places where curlew are.

Therefore, Morethankittiwakes will conclude on 31st December 2015 as it is a record of my year in NZ26.  From 1st January 2016, Curlews’ Feathers will take its place. Hopefully it will be interesting enough for you to stick with this as your views and comments have been really helpful.

The aim is to improve my writing, but in so doing it may get a bit weirder before it gets better.

Header Photo by Barry Madden of EasternBushchat fame.


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