Thursday, July 10, 2008

Countdown to Cambridge!

I leave for Pembroke College of Cambridge University, in England in 21 days and I couldn't be more excited. I've decided to take a page out of Amy Hooper's book and asking for some travel advice. I've never been to the UK before, and I've definitely never birded there.
Hopefully I'll have shots of my own that look like this to post here in August =)
I'd appreciate any advice on what to bring with me for birding and just general everyday (don't worry, the raincoat is already in my suitcase), where to go on my free weekends - again birdwise and in general, preferably by foot or public transport - no way I'm attempting to drive.

 Another big help would be a smallish list of which birds to study up on beforehand (I bought the Birds of Europe guide by Mullarney, Svennson, et all) taking into consideration that I'll be there the month of August, and some of September.

1 comment:

Scott said...

Definitely study up on your tits (no pun intended). During my first trip to the UK, I had to keep referring back to my field guide with these guys, even though they're all pretty distinctive.

It's also worth learning the Sylviid warblers. Some are pretty easy like the Blackcaps and Whitethroats, but when you start getting to the Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs, and especially in late summer when most everything will be molting, it can be tricky for someone with no experience with European birds.

If you're going to bird any wetland sites, some of the European shorebirds can be tricky, and you should be catching the start of fall migration, so there's another group worth reviewing.

Do you have any European bird sound recordings? I definitely could have used some before I went to England...I went having studied literally no songs, and it definitely made things difficult, although some vocalizations are easy to learn. I was there around the same time you'll be going, and I was surprised that there was still a lot of song despite the end of breeding activity, so it's still worth studying if you can.