Welcome to my blog. If you live in Surrey and birding is your obsession (to get out of bed at some ridiculously early time of the morning, no matter what the weather, to go and look at birds isn't normal behaviour, believe me) and you're still a bit of a novice (like me) then, hopefully, this blog is for you.

Friday 17 August 2012


I know this blog has deviated away from birds and more towards other activities of late, but I'm unabashed in my enthusiasm for anything Olympic at the moment.

After my trip to Hyde Park on my birthday, I went to visit my parents in Margate the following day. My mum is very ill at the moment and so it was important to go down for a bit of moral support. On the way I did pop over the Oare Marshes for an hour, I needed the distraction to be honest, and while there I saw a Wood Sandpiper and a Turtle Dove, both the target birds for the brief visit.

Wood Sandpiper (off right) at Oare Marshes
Turtle Dove at Oare Marshes
A Ruff feeding at Oare
This hour visit has been the only birding I have done for the past three weeks. Too much work on top of too much juggling of time to fit in family issues and the once-in-a-lifetime London 2012 Olympics, which I have been totally immersed in, and thoroughly moved by, for two weeks.

I was working at Racing Post on Sunday, but decided to travel up to London early so as to fit in the Men's Marathon. The crowds on the Embankment near Waterloo Bridge were huge. The atmosphere was truly uplifting as every single runner – from the winner from Uganda, Stephen Kriprotich, to Tsepo Ramonene from Lesotho who finished 85th – was cheered and encouraged. The route where I watched meant they went by four times, so I was able to stay long enough to see them go through each time before going off to work at Canary Wharf. It was a great way to start a working day.

Stephen Kriprotich leads the field on his way to victory in the Men's Marathon
Thousands turned out to watch the final athletics event along the Embankment

There have been plenty of interesting birds that have dropped in locally recently, notably 16 Black Terns at Staines Reservoir, but I haven't had a chance to go and see them. Next week will be different, hopefully, and I can get back on track with the autumn migration.

The London 2012 Olympic Games have now ended, and what a show it turned out to be. Truly epic. I had a lump in my throat most days. Whether it was Mo Farah, Usian Bolt, Jessica Ennis, the Team GB cycling team, boxing, rowing, taekwondo – I was even gripped by the dressage, for pete's sake – it has been a time to forget all the woes of life and just sit back and enjoy the ride.

The stunningly beautiful Olympic flame was slowly extinguished during the closing ceremony and you could hear the crowd at the Olympic Stadium audibly groan. It was a poignant moment filled with sadness that such a wonderful 16 days had to end.

At least I have another pastime that can fill the void and reward me with some wonderful moments that I will remember hopefully for years to come.

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