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Ptarmigan

30th November As I write, we in the UK are about to emerge from a second Covid-19 lockdown. By now all tours, trips and filming projects would be almost complete planning wise. But I sit here with a fairly blank piece of paper wondering what to do for 2021 as the future still looks uncertain. Outline plans can be made and thus amended, subject to the restrictions in place at the time.

I think 2021 will be a consolidation year. Hopefully recce trips to Norfolk over the winter and certainly the Outer Hebrides in June will feature, with a focus on day tours or UK based tours taking priority as I feel folk are generally uneasy with many restrictions on international travel in place. These recce trips and plans should then come to fruition in 2022.

If the situation looks favourable it may be a recce trip in the spring in the camper to Extremadura, as it's been a few years since we were last there and things change. That's as far as we planned thus far, but watch this space.

21st August Well, it's been quite an interesting year so far. All plans of trips and tours went out of the window. The camper van has been sat on the drive all summer and barely turned a wheel with trips to Spain and Scotland scuppered. Initial lockdown was not eased until the end of May, so little effective birding here was undertaken (currently living 20 miles from my patch of 30 years!). The pandemic bubbles along and although many measures have been lifted, social distancing and just getting out and living are compromised. As we enter the autumn period it's hoped to be able to get out more, although the countryside has become the release for many people with unprecedented numbers now spending time on 'staycations', so those once tranquil spots are now much busier. Personally I have no wish to travel far, having witnessed the lack of social distancing and having to isolate for a further two weeks when a family member tested positive, I will continue birding in relatively uncongested SK58 and catch up on birding missed in the spring. It would be grand to visit favoured haunts on the east coast, but I fear these will be very busy, maybe midweek? Lets hope we have an excellent birding autumn. If it's anything like the spring, it'll be a corker.

7th April I sit at my keyboard, looking out over a tranquil scene, no commuter traffic on nearby roads, amplifying the sound of bird song around. I'm overlooking a nearby country park, binoculars at the ready-just in case something exciting drifts past! We are in week 3 of lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic. This time of year would see any birder worth their salt, out looking for the first summer migrants, hoping for something a little rarer. All this is now on hold, aside from exercise within walking distance of home. It's all very frustrating as we race head long into the spring period. Luckily I'm working from home, safe and secure, looking forward to the day when I can go a wandering around the magnificent countryside we have, binoculars in hand, and further afield on filming trips and tours, making use of the camper, which is currently sat idly on the drive.

Birding is much more than just a hobby, it's a way of life, it's an escape, a balance to all the woes in the world and has personally steered me through various turmoil's and angst life has thrown my way for the past 42 years I've been birding. It has been the constant companion when I've needed to clear my head or escape for a few hours from the pressures around. I came across this quote a few years ago, written well over 150 years ago-"Essays on Natural History, Chiefly Ornithology" By Charles Waterton (1838 or 1844). Seems apt given the current situation and I offer it to you.

16th December Firstly, let me wish you all a Happy Christmas, and a Prosperous and Peaceful New Year. Secondly, we may have been quiet on the Gone Birding front, but things are still ticking over. In the summer we bought a camper van, this has delayed the purchase of a 4k camera until 2020, so no progress on the filming front. However we have been out and about putting the camper to good use in Norfolk, the Cotswolds, Spurn and Flamborough to name a few locations. If you see us out and about, give us a wave!

Come spring 2020, we hope to go to the Highlands & Islands of Scotland, having kitted ourselves out with a 4k camera-watch this space.

16th March I have been out and about birding in SK58 and just had a great weekend in Norfolk. However I've been laid low with a shoulder injury which has kept me away from the keyboard for over a month. However all seems well now, but it's probably too late in the season to look at tours, so I'll have to write this year off. But will look at sorting out my filming kit for next year, so still busy birding and working behind the scenes at Gone Birding.

6th December It's been a while since the last update, so with Christmas rapidly approaching, we thought it high time we wrote a few lines. We've held off organising any 2019 tours thus far on two counts. Firstly I've had a dodgy knee most of the summer, which has now thankfully been rectified by physio, and secondly, and more importantly we're looking at concentrating on the filming side of Gone Birding and hoping to upgrade to the latest 4k kit soon, from camera to editing suite, which means after a hefty investment, we'd better make use of it! We're not ruling out any tours next year, but it will be scaled back.

We are hoping to ramp up our filming efforts, which will hopefully mean more GBi products. Follow us on Twitter (above) and Facebook to follow our progress.

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