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WRITING FOR THE VILLAGE MAGAZINE - 10 March 2015

I have been writing bird articles for my village bi-monthly magazine for the past 15 years. Its centenary edition is about to be printed, giving 'repeat' contributors an opportunity to review what we have done and I am surprised to find I have written 25 articles so far. My first piece in October 2000 focused on the story of a Rose-coloured Starling in our village that summer which stayed for 2 weeks. I don't know who found it originally, but I was the one tasked with identifying the bird (not difficult for a adult bird) and soon people were coming from as far as Manchester and Hull to 'twitch' it as the message spread on the internet.

Early on I broadcasted that I would compile a village list, recording all the bird species seen in the vicinity over the years. That list first appeared in October 2001 with 120 species, but I predicted that total would grow and eventually reach 150. And it did. It reached 150 by summer 2004, it has grown since and it now stands at 159 species as you can see:

Red-throated Diver Little Grebe Great Crested Grebe Fulmar Cormorant Grey Heron White Stork Mute Swan Whooper Swan Pink-footed Goose Greylag Goose Canada Goose Barnacle Goose Snow Goose Shelduck Wigeon Teal Shoveler Mallard Gadwall Pochard Tufted Duck Mandarin Duck Goldeneye Smew Ruddy Duck Red-breasted Merganser Goosander Marsh Harrier Hen Harrier Goshawk Sparrowhawk Buzzard Osprey Red Kite Kestrel Merlin Hobby Peregrine Falcon Grey Partridge Red-legged Partridge Quail Pheasant Water Rail Corncrake Oystercatcher Moorhen Coot Common Crane Golden Plover Grey Plover Lapwing Dunlin Jack Snipe Snipe Woodcock Whimbrel Curlew Black-tailed Godwit Redshank Greenshank Green Sandpiper Common Sandpiper Wood Sandpiper Black-headed Gull Common Gull Lesser Black-backed Gull Herring Gull Great Black-backed Gull Kittiwake Common Tern Sandwich Tern Little Auk Feral Pigeon Stock Dove Woodpigeon Collared Dove Cuckoo Barn Owl Little Owl Tawny Owl Short-eared Owl Long-eared Owl Nightjar Swift Kingfisher Green Woodpecker Great Spotted Woodpecker Lesser Spotted Woodpecker Skylark Sand Martin Swallow House Martin Tree Pipit Meadow Pipit Yellow Wagtail Grey Wagtail Pied Wagtail Waxwing Dipper Wren Dunnock Robin Black Redstart Redstart Whinchat Stonechat Wheatear Ring Ouzel Blackbird Fieldfare Song Thrush Redwing Mistle Thrush Grasshopper Warbler Sedge Warbler Lesser Whitethroat Common Whitethroat Garden Warbler Blackcap Yellow-browed Warbler Wood Warbler Chiffchaff Willow Warbler Goldcrest Firecrest Spotted Flycatcher Long-tailed Tit Marsh Tit Willow Tit Coal Tit Blue Tit Great Tit Nuthatch Treecreeper Jay Magpie Jackdaw Rook Carrion Crow Raven Starling Rose-coloured Starling Golden Oriole House Sparrow Tree Sparrow Chaffinch Brambling Greenfinch Goldfinch Siskin Linnet Redpoll Crossbill Bullfinch Hawfinch Yellowhammer Reed Bunting Corn Bunting

Our village list includes some impressive and surprising birds like Red-throated Diver, Osprey and Golden Oriole. It can grow further. One obvious candidate is Mediterranean Gull, now breeding in the county and wintering in small numbers along our coast. Will someone find a single bird mixing with the gull flocks around the village? What about Pintail, a beautiful duck we can get in some numbers on our northern coast and more locally on the Druridge Bay reserves? Is it only a matter of time when we see the RSPB's iconic symbol, the Avocet, fly over the village, given that the bird now breeds less than 10 miles away?


Mark Winter


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