I dont know when I first started being interested in birds. I know I had all the wildlife books and I like animal stories. I remember my dad put up a nest box outside my bedroom window under the eaves and a blue tit nested in it.
I know I had my own pair of binoculars by the time I went to college. I had a new pair in 1994, a lightweight pair, but they’ve been through a lot of dusty roads (I think the tiger watching holiday was a dust too far) and I recently reverted to using my original ones. They have better light-gathering qualities than the lightweight ones.
Most of what I did was to just enjoy watching birds, seeing different ones and also seeing my regular visitors. I fed the birds at my old house and delighted in them using my garden but didnt sign up to do any surveys or recording of birds until everything went online – and then I took up the BTO Garden Bird Watch with enthusiasm! Then it was just a small step to Birdtrack and I discovered I am a compulsive lister. Well I always did have a yen for collecting things. But not a twitcher – I dont go chasing round the countryside for the latest rarity. I just like to see what I see in my favourite areas and explore new places.
When I came to Norfolk I discovered heaven in birdwatching terms. I also discovered the joys of surveys. First I took part in the Plover survey of 2006-7, then the Little Ringed Plover survey in 2007 which I did very badly I’m afraid, partly due to the weather and partly due to a bad foot which meant that days I could cope with walking were limited (and invariably wet). I was also too new to the area I think.
But when the BTO started the fieldwork for the new Bird Atlas 2007-11 I was ready willing and able to get involved. And then my Regional Organiser asked if I’d like to do the Breeding Bird Survey….. and so it continues.