Saturday 14 August 2021

A Bad Blog

There seems to be four routes a successful wildlife blog can go down, in order for it to be a successful wildlife blog...

1/  A photography blog. And I mean a proper portfolio of top quality images from a professional wildlife photographer.  These blogs are all about the photos, but a picture is worth a thousand words and with the quality of wildlife photography ever improving, there are so many that just blow my mind.  Graham Catley's blog is one of my favourites.

2/  A proper blog, with each post being more like a carefully crafted article. The topics are frequently controversial and current to entice as many readers, with the aim being to create as much reaction and engagement as possible.  The content is often of such high quality it wouldn't be out of place in a hardback!  And if the author goes through a wildlife-dry spell, that won't stop the posts as the author's need to write will always win through (expect a trip down memory lane-type post!). Our Gav over on Not Quite Scilly a classic example of a proper blog.

3/  A specialist blog that focusses on a particular and precise subject matter (e.g. a group of species like raptors).  The authors are experts in their field so the blog content is often highly educating, there are some cracking Gull ones out there for example like GullDK.

4/  A regularly and routinely updated wildlife news blog.  Nothing too elaborate on the text front, but a reliable source of information if you want to know what is around. Bird Observatory blogs are a great example of this, I rarely go a day without logging in to see what has been seen at Portland and Dungeness.  Dependable and highly informative.  The Dawlish Warren blog another excellent example of one.

And here is why I am completely failing at all four...

1/ My photos are always mediocre (at best!).  I am not patient enough to be a proper wildlife photographer, simply because I always want to know what is around the next corner. This is more of a pull to me than getting 'the shot'.  

An Axe Birding kind of shot!  Capturing the exact moment three Eider flew past Seaton on 2nd April this year, a patch rarity so it needed a pic! I know it's a bad pic but you should have seen how far out they were, the fact I have captured anything is something of a miracle!

2/  I attempt this every now and then, but thought-provoking blog posts always take me about two weeks to write. And when I do finally hit publish, the only interaction I get is a comment a week later from a 'bot' trying to sell me and my readers a pill that claims to 'enhance' certain body parts. N.B. They don't work it's a complete lie... so a friend says.

3/  My interests are too broad to even consider this. I used to have a Caspian Gull section but I didn't update that for about two years because I didn't see any new Caspian Gulls! I tried a bird ringing/birds in the hand section too but there were too many others far better than mine. 

4/  Now this is the one I was ok at.  For many years I was proud of my rapid on the same day updates, sharing the raw passion and telling the story of the seasons in the Axe Valley in real time, along with countless ropey record shorts to annotate in a somewhat 'authentic' way.  Go back through the years and you'll see months stuffed full of basic but hopefully excitable content, which is something I am really disappointed to have let slip.

Look at all those posts!

I think I have demonstrated in detail just why Axe Birding is not a successful wildlife blog, or any sort of blog of any kind! But I am proud of one thing, and that is that I am still here... 

I consider this a long-standing blog, with my first post way back on 24th September 2008 which was three days before my 23rd birthday!  Looking back through the years this blog acts as a diary for me, but it doesn't just remind me of all the fantastic wildlife moments I have experienced here, it allows me to almost physically relive them.  And that is not something I want to give up. And neither is my passion of wanting to share what I see.

To get Axe Birding back on track I really need to clear the news backlog before autumn 2021 really kicks off, so I better get on with it! And I already know the title of my next post: 'A First For Devon!'.  

Now if that doesn't make you want to come back, nothing will!


  1. Thanks for your very generous review of NQS, Steve. I think the commendable longevity of Axe Birding is definitely something to be very proud of. Over the years I've come to appreciate just how much I enjoy dipping into the NQS archives and reliving some of the best moments. Just brilliant. I really regret deleting the early versions. I've realised that a blog is a superb way to keep a diary/journal...

    Just so long as your 'first for Devon' post isn't a depressing rewind to October 2010! A very badly-timed Scilly trip, that.

    1. Hi Gavo! Haha - I have got to much to get on here without dragging up the past! Am going to do a Gull-billed Tern post sometime though, it's like the MEGA that I never speak about because it causes even me pain!

  2. I'm so sorry Steve, but I actually snorted with laughter when I reached the 'Eider shot'....😂😂

    1. Are you laughing because you can see they are clearly King Eiders and I have actually mis ID'd them :-)