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, 1 March 2013


Enough of the moaning and on with some more constructive comment. After Tuesday's indifferent day I met up with an old work colleague and friend of mine, Jeremy Early, at his house in Reigate on Wednesday morning for further discussion about the book I'm designing for him. It's a natural history book he is self-publishing called My Side of the Fence - the Natural History of a Surrey Garden.

Jeremy is a journalist by profession, and is a passionate environmentalist and wildlife photographer. He has put a brilliant book together on all aspects of wildlife in his garden, from mammals such as roe deer to invertebrates like wasps, bees and flies.

Osmia caerulescens with leaves – apparently
The foreword is being written by David Bellamy, and it should be ready by mid-April/beginning of May.

It was a welcome visit for me because his garden is a joy. I'm no gardener, in fact I loath gardening, but what was so magical about this garden was the amount of wildlife activity going on in it. Jeremy has bird feeders strategically placed for the best viewing from the living room window, plus others on a tree on the lawn. Masses of Blue, Great and Coal Tits fly in to feed, plus plenty of Nuthatches. A pair of Dunnock performed just in front of the window – a male clearly trying to attract a female.

It was a welcome moment of relaxation from the stress of twitching some bird or other that may or may not appear. And it made me appreciate a Dunnock for what it is, a sentient being with as much value as a Pallas's Warbler.

Yep, he had a Wryneck in the garden some years ago - as you do
Jeremy self-published another book called Hidden Jewels and also has a website called Nature Conservation Imaging. It is well worth a look at – www.natureconservationimaging.com.

I'm off back to Rainham tomorrow morning in the hope of connecting with the male Hen Harrier seen hunting over the marshes these past few days, plus the two Black Redstarts by the river. Would certainly make up for earlier in the week.

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