BONUS TIPS FOR PARENTS
BIRDING WITH BUGGIES
If you’re at that stage where you need to get your little one off to sleep for a daytime nap, this can be a tiny window of opportunity to appreciate birds – perhaps while you’re pushing the buggy through a haze of sleep deprivation, or pausing for a few minutes in a park or by a window.
BIRDING ON HOLIDAY
Going on holiday, or even getting away from the house for a day, can take you to a different habitat, where you could see different birds from those at home. Admittedly, you might not get much chance to enjoy them, but just being on a beach, or walking by a river or through a forest, means you could catch a glance of something a little bit out of the ordinary. We had extremely confiding views of Turnstones while walking around Whitby, for example, and I’ve often sneaked a look at Gannets diving in the bay, while digging channels or jumping waves in Filey. Best of all was a pair of lifers while on holiday in North Wales – Chough and Raven at RSPB South Stack. Take binoculars with you just in case.
When your kids are a bit older and you can leave them at birthday parties for an hour or two, this could be a golden opportunity to squeeze in a cheeky birding trip at a local site. I’ve been lucky enough to watch Tree Pipits and Wood Larks at Skipwith Common, just a five-minute drive from one popular party venue. I even found my first ever wild snakes (two Grass Snakes) there in spring 2018 during a party gap, and dashed back there afterwards to show my son and two of his friends who’d been at the party.
If you’re very lucky, your children might stay still in a hide; they might stay quiet; they might even show some interest in that distant wader you’re trying to identify. But they probably won’t. At the ages of 10 and 13, my kids are just about able to manage this, but I wish you luck if you want to try and keep children quietly occupied in a hide. They’ll probably get bored very swiftly, and trying to avoid disrupting other birders will most likely stress you out.
South Stack – don't forget your bins!