Thursday, 27 October 2011


Hello, and welcome to Nick’s Birding Blog, which is intended to be a journal of the birdwatching exploits of a thirty-something admin worker (who is also an amateur journalist and history enthusiast) in North London. For the most part, this will probably consists of observations made about the birds in my local area, East Finchley – particularly my two favoured local birding sites, Coldfall Wood and Cherry Tree Wood. Digressions are to be expected, though, and at the start of this enterprise I am not prepared to declare anything bird-related to be off limits.

I must declare at this point that I am by no means an expert. Although I have enjoyed birdwatching for many years I do not consider myself to be an authority on the subject! For example, I have taken to watching out for birds on lunchtime walks in the nearest park to my office, Sunny Hill Park in Hendon. I have only recently started to keep a proper record of my sightings in this park, which I try to do at least once a week. At present this is highly unscientific – I don’t even have my binoculars with me and I only have an hour – but in four walks I have clocked 16 species.

There are even times when I am shocked by my own birding naiveté. For example, I have recently started participating in the activities of my local RSPB group. Earlier this month I went to a guided walk at the Brent Reservoir and saw 36 different species in two hours – including three Swallows (evidently some stragglers who were persuaded to stay a bit longer by the Indian summer we were having), with Great Crested Grebe, Little Grebe, Shoveler, Teal, Widgeon, Ruddy Duck and even a Lapwing on the reservoir itself. I had not previously been aware of the fact that the Welsh Harp (as this reservoir is known locally) could be such a birding hot-spot; obviously this has been a gross oversight on my part given that I grew up in nearby Edgware and it is (as I have since realised) listed in various books on the subject of good places to go to in order to watch birds. Oh well! Better late than never I suppose.

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