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Ev­ery is­sue, we ask well-known bird­ers ques­tions about their hobby. This month it’s the turn of teenage birder and con­ser­va­tion cam­paigner

Bird Watching (UK) - - Uk Bird Sightings - Find­lay Wilde

What sparked your in­ter­est in bird­watch­ing?

Since the age of six, I have de­vel­oped a grow­ing pas­sion for the nat­u­ral world. I would of­ten sit and ob­serve the many wood­land bird species feed­ing on my grand­par­ents’ bird feed­ers in North Wales.

Who was your bird­watch­ing in­spi­ra­tion or men­tor?

I de­vel­oped my own in­ter­est in birds and never had an in­spi­ra­tional in­di­vid­ual or group to get me go­ing. How­ever, as I’ve be­come more passionate about con­ser­va­tion, cer­tain in­di­vid­u­als and or­gan­i­sa­tions have been real men­tors in guid­ing and driv­ing me in this area.

Do you bird alone or with a friend?

Sadly, I think it is quite of­ten the case with young bird­ers that there isn’t any­one or many other young peo­ple in the same area shar­ing sim­i­lar in­ter­ests, so I mostly bird alone, though I do try to meet up with fel­low young bird­ers.

Your dream bird to see?

The Black-naped Monarch. One day, maybe.

Your favourite bird­ing spot?

Spurn Bird Ob­ser­va­tory for its in­sane mi­gra­tion, or my own patch­ing area, Wins­ford Flash.

Your clas­sic birder’s lunch?

Pre­pared the night be­fore; ba­con sand­wich on the way.

House Martin or Sand Martin?

The House Martin. For years they have nested on the eaves of the house, and it is cer­tainly a bird I feel close to.

Favourite bird song or call?

On mi­gra­tion, while scan­ning large quan­ti­ties of waders, the Green­shank call among many other thou­sands of waders stands out the most for me.

Bird­watch­ing’s big­gest myth or mis­con­cep­tion?

The fact that some bird­ers think they have to go on twitch af­ter twitch to see ‘good’ birds. In my opin­ion, bird­ing on your doorstep or patch­ing one lo­cal site reg­u­larly pro­vides as much plea­sure as trav­el­ling to see a rare bird that some­one else has come across. Bird­ing one site can pro­vide more in­for­ma­tion about a species or habi­tat.

The best bird you’ve seen?

A stun­ning male Hen Har­rier glid­ing in and out of the mist over the hills of North Wales.

Iden­ti­fy­ing gulls – night­mare or nice day out?

I love scan­ning them and find the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion to be fine, ex­cept for Ring-billed Gulls in any­thing but adult plumage.

Your favourite bird joke?

That hi­lar­i­ous cam­paign called “You for­got the birds”!

How do we en­cour­age young peo­ple to watch birds?

I’d like to see nat­u­ral his­tory/en­vi­ron­men­tal stud­ies in­cor­po­rated into all core sub­jects in schools.

Chif­fchaff or Wil­low War­bler?

Wil­low War­bler. I am amazed by the ex­tent of its mi­gra­tion and love the charis­matic song.

The one place you’d love to go bird­watch­ing?

Ev­ery habi­tat, ev­ery cli­mate, has some­thing unique.

A bird­ing/con­ser­va­tion is­sue you feel strongly about?

The il­le­gal per­se­cu­tion of up­land rap­tors, par­tic­u­larly the Hen Har­rier.

The bird that an­noys you most?

Canada Goose, flocks of 150-plus on patch come hurtling onto the wa­ter, off bal­ance, scat­ter­ing most other birds.

The bo­gey bird that still eludes you?

For years, I have been try­ing un­suc­cess­fully tosee an Ice­land Gull, yet I can’t quite man­age to see one.

The bird book you’d never be with­out?

Collins Bird Guide.

Why do you love bird­watch­ing in three words?

Ev­ery day learn­ing.

Ad­vice for bird­ers tak­ing part in #My200birdyear?

Reg­u­larly watch lo­cal sites as you can be amazed at some of the species they can throw up. It’s not a num­ber, it’s a jour­ney, so en­joy every­thing you see along the way.

Find­lay on Twit­ter @Wilde­about­birds

Teenage con­ser­va­tion­ist and birder Find­lay Wilde has been passionate about na­ture since a very young age

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