I think I missed my slot; did I miss my slot? Was anyone worried, anyone think maybe I’d been caught up in that little bit of bother?

Le me reassure you I can handle myself in a riot. I’m three weeks into the summer holidays with three children. That’s three weeks of chaos and anarchy and my kids don’t cover their faces. It’s badly named this summer holiday as it isn’t so much a holiday as a marathon-type endurance event lasting six weeks.

I’m finding that I’ve needed to call upon all my resourcefulness to ensure that this juggernaut of a juggling act of birding and keeping the kids occupied, interested, providing them with all those happy childhood memories that they’ll look back on fondly in years to come keeps rolling.

Allow me to explain, offer a window on some of the ingenuity, and let’s face it the trail of deceit, that I’ve left behind in my wake these past weeks.


A walk by the river, Mum and Dad hold hands, Dad points out the fishing boats on the river, children climb, run and tumble down grassy slopes in fits of giggles. Lunch provided by the freshest locally caught fish along with the ever so British chips in a down to earth, back to basics fun day.

Dad smuggled bins into the back of the car, occasionally glances at children whilst studying juvenile Herring Gulls looking for signs of Yellow-legged Gull or better still a Caspian Gull. Dad points out the sinensis race Cormorant roosting on the wooden staithes and ensures his seat in the fish restaurant is the one facing out the window so he can watch the gulls.

Look at the funny dark-eyed Herring Gull  kids!


Dad suggest a fun day at the beach, sandcastle, beach tennis, splashing in the surf, followed by a delightful home made picnic. Collecting shells, crabs from the rock pools and pink girly starfish for our daughter.

Cool bags make a great place to hide your optics even if it doesn’t leave much room for food. Dad stands at the water’s edge checking out the passing terns and only gets excited when a Green Sandpiper whooshes through south tripping over and destroying sand castle in process. Picnic is equivalent to World War II rations due to cool bag being used to carry optics.

Ooh a pink starfish, just behind those Sanderlings sweetheart.


A fantastic day out at a 19th century theme park. Family rides on the tram, picnic in the park, ice cream, old fashioned sweet making, horses, stables in a beautiful parkland setting.

Dad uses the open-top tram as a moving platform to try and view the local Red Kites going around so many times daughter falls asleep. Children picnic in the park whilst dad gets strange looks from other families for lurking in nearby bushes sure he saw a juvenile Redstart. Visit 19th century school, Dad photographs old stuffed birds in display case and old advertising signs.

Aren’t these old signs so interesting kids


Educational visit to local Natural History Museum. Interactive displays, cool museum shop and lunch in airy modern cafe.

A two hour wait whilst Dad looks at skins of dead birds.  Late for lunch not much left.


Written by Alan
With a high flying career in business management Alan Tilmouth was once described as an irruptive birder. With the arrival of twins to add to his existing two kids in 2007 he grabbed the opportunity to bring some life changes. Business sold, he is now a full-time dad, birder, and blogger. Alan lives in Northumberland England's most northerly county, works part-time as part of the birdguides news team, tinkers with freelance writing and tries to figure out how his DSLR works. You can read his blog here.