Well my own answer to the title of this blog is another question, what is real birding? I do get the feeling sometimes that some in the 'birdwatching' fraternity think it is not!
Personally I have never pretended to be a 'proper birder' for example I have made many an error in identifying birds in the past, I am happy to admit it and will make more errors in the future I am sure.
In short I feel that I am simply an hobbyist avian photographer nothing else than that really, does that make me a birder or not?
You can decide on the blog title question yourself but for me taking part in a section of this great hobby, it is simple; I get great pleasure from the level of activity I participate in and wow this hobby is multi faceted, a hobby where you can focus on the ringing of birds, photographing them, watch and study them, record the behaviour, draw them etc. its not an in exhaustive list really and we can all find our niche for me it is avian photography.
I have thus far learned a great deal and will hopefully continue to learn all the time about myself like bird identification nuances, their sounds and song, the art of fieldcraft etc. Not forgetting learning all the time to get the best from my camera gear in differing situations, weather conditions etc. to try to get that elusive 'perfect photograph'.
I have of course; met many far more knowledgable 'birders' than I since I have took up bird photography as a hobby in 2010 and a lot of people I now know both a little and much better are decent people too, which is nice! I am sure there are many, many decent folks out there who enjoy birds in the many guises that is possible that I have not met.
I like most of us i guess; fit in my 'birding' activities in when I am able like most with work and family commitments and this (fitting in) may mean traveling somewhere or just staying at home. At this time of the year my garden like many others has visitors not seen the rest of the year and so the possibility of taking some decent close images is increased.
So yesterday on a dull day I decided to set up my portable one man hide in the garden as I only had a little time before going out to visit family later on in the day.
Our medium sized suburban garden can at the moment get pretty busy and we always ensure the feeding stations are ready to appease the appetites of the various visitors with different foodstuffs. Yesterday's session saw a total of 16 species (max of species seen this winter in brackets) Blackbird(13), Wood Pigeon (6), Jackdaw (12), Crow (4), Collared Dove (12), Dunnock (2), Robin (3), Great Tit (4), Blue Tit (4), Chaffinch (13), Redpoll (8), Siskin (6), Goldfinch (42), Greenfinch (8), House Sparrow (6), and Wren (1) being the birds seen.
Light was poor really but below are better shots from the session in the hide, hope you like them, for me I would like better but always do I guess, that's just me, ask Dave R about how picky I can be on that front!
Below are a selection of the typical bird in the garden images I get, hope you like?
One thing I can say I get from trying to take photos of birds in any scenario is relaxation, it is such a pleasurable thing to do even if I don't take a photo and long may this continue!