Kickstart for bad birdwatchers: joining an expert-led tour on the Thames

Kickstart for bad birdwatchers: joining an expert-led tour on the Thames

Hugh Thomson identifies as a ‘bad birdwatcher’: someone who likes birds, but doesn’t really know much about them

Once or twice a year I’ve been gifted with the sight of a kingfisher flashing past, a mesmeric blur of blue far too exotic to belong in Britain. So to watch one at leisure as it perches by the fringe of willow that hides its nest is, to say the least, a rare treat. And the only reason I can do so is because I’ve been guided to the right part of the riverbank.

The guide in question is Steve Gozdz, who runs GG Wildlife Experiences on a section of the Thames near Oxford. “That’s the female; I can hear the male just a little further downstream. He’ll be busy bringing fish back to the nest. Kingfishers need at least a dozen fish a day – each. With a brood of five or six, that’s a lot of fish.”

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