Monday, 21 September 2015

Patchwork Introducing: James C.

Recently I was asked to join the prestigious ranks of the Patchwork Challenge team, a challenge I welcomed with open arms. I have participated in the Patchwork Challenge since the beginning and as such find myself honoured to have been invited to blog, tweet and otherwise help with the challenge. As you will no doubt be seeing my name crop up on the blog from time to time, and may well receive the odd email from me in reference to finds and such I thought I should provide a little background so that you know just who it is you are speaking to.

I'm James, a twenty-two year old naturalist and birder from the North-East of England. As I said above, I have participated in PWC since the outset and have thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. Anyone that follows my blog will know that I have a special place in my heart for Stobswood, a rather barren and hideously under-birded site that falls within the Inland North mini league. This is a site that I have watched since a very early age and above anything else, the site that first inspired my love of birding (and patching). Once the largest opencast mine in Britain, Stobswood now stands a mosaic of forgotten pools, rolling grassland and woodland and over the years of  PWC the site has thrown up some real gems. Among these; Rough-Legged Buzzard, Green-Winged Teal, Curlew Sandpiper, Hobby, Snow Bunting, a rather credible Ross's Goose and all five species of breeding owl., to name a few. Nothing that in any way, shape or form classes as a"mega" but enough to keep this humble patcher visiting the site day in, day out whilst enduring a whole manner of weather conditions. Alas Stobswood's days are now numbered and next year I will be departing for new and less familiar climes. Despite this however I will continue to take part in PWC and relish the opportunity of a move to somewhere a tad more productive!

Little Owl, Stobswood - James Common

Long-Eared Owl, Stobswood - James Common

What does the Patchwork Challenge mean to me? Well, PWC has added a delightful competitive element to a pass time I truly enjoy. Patchwork provides motivation to get out the house on even the most atrocious days and helps makes every find, however small, extremely exciting (patch first Red-Legged Partridge this Spring proved cause for celebration). In addition to this PWC has allowed me to meet and connect with scores of like minded individuals, all of whom are equally passionate about their local patches and many of whom are more than willing to share their vast knowledge with a wee upstart like myself. Something that in hindsight has undoubtedly made me a better birder! I would advise anyone with a love of birding to get involved with Patchwork, you really won't regret it. I look forward to seeing how the challenge develops in the coming years and look forward to playing my part in the growth and development of what I feel is a truly exciting cause. 

- James C (@CommonByNature)

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