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.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016


So, what have I been doing lately?

It's that time of year again, when all the Siberian Accentors, Isabelline Wheatears and Forster's Terns turn up, stay a while and then leave, never to be seen again.

It is just after that sequence of events happens that suddenly, as if waking from a long hibernation I reappear out into the cold, wet, dark days of late autumn/early winter and go birding once again.

But then the days are short, the birds are scant and... well, I go back to my pit and dream more dreams of wondrous birding experiences in Britain (holidays to Majorca don't count in this sulk) in 2017.

Something has to change, but I'm not sure that it will for the time being. My busy work pattern every year coincides with the best time to go birding – usually September and October.

And next year looks like being even more hectic as I take on a new venture. I'm self-employed and while the new project will only take up a few days a month, those days would have been times I'd have gone out for the day. 

Never mind, it will help with the bills, etc. But that is an issue at my time of life. I'm 57. I can't quite believe I've reached that age, as I still feel mentally about 12. And the time is racing by, which is alarming to say the least. I don't want to spend all the rest of my life chasing around worrying about how I'm going to pay the bills every bloody day.

My uncle Michael (my dad's brother) who died this summer, gave his son, my cousin Mark, one simple piece of advice. He said most of the things you worry about in life will never happen, so don't waste your energy on them.

On the flip side of that, the same can be said of waiting for good things to happen. They won't if you don't make an effort. And there's no point waiting for a rainy day either. So many of my parent's generation saved and scrimped all their lives but ended up too old or ill to ever to enjoy the fruits of their hard work. It makes me feel very sad if I think about that too much.

That is why I shall go on more holidays in future – even if I have to work even harder to make up the deficit afterwards. We all need treasured memories – experiences we can recall for years to come. They don't have to be epic adventures, just days and weeks where you can relax and reflect and enjoy moments. Snapshots that last a lifetime.


  1. Sound advice Neil that most of us don't have the opportunity to take - but if you can, go for it!

  2. Travel is far far more rewarding than seeing lost waifs. Good decision.