I’ve been birding since the devil was a boy – basically, for as long as I can remember. I cut my teeth initially in the back garden of my family home in Wembley, graduating to the nearby Monks Park (between the North Circular and the Harrow Road). I used to watch wintering flocks of Tree Sparrow here in the 70’s almost taking them for granted!
By 1976 I was a Brent Res regular until the mid 90’s. I also had other patches during the 80’s including Beddington and the old Barn Elms where I used to bird with the late Rupert Hastings. I lived in Thetford, Norfolk when I was the Head of Membership at the BTO for a couple of years from 1997.
I’ve been watching the Scrubs since 1991. At first glance it is not the most appealing of sites and perhaps even a potentially dangerous place as dusk approaches. But there is a certain magic about the place.
Over the years I have found Woodlark, Honey Buzzard, Marsh Harrier, Wryneck, Ring Ouzel and Dartford Warbler here amongst other interesting migrants and accidentals. My proudest moments were when I found Britain’s first ever wintering Common Redstart in December 2004 and an Ortolan in September 2003.
Most of my birding is at the Scrubs these days as I travel abroad a lot with work. My twitching instinct is diminishing – I must admit!
Check out my website: www.theurbanbirder.com
2006 Wormwood Scrubs Year List – 89 species
Notables: Great Crested Grebe (2nd & 3rd), Little Egret (1st), Egyptian Goose (1st & 2nd), Shelduck (1st & 2nd), Tufted Duck (2nd), Peregrine (2nd & 3rd), Hobby (3 records this year including a 3 day stay), Greenshank (1st), Whimbrel (1st), Mediterranean Gull (3rd & 4th), Cuckoo (3 & 1st since 1992), Nightingale (3rd & 4th), Common Redstart (c5 biggest day count), Northern Wheatear (c42 in spring), Ring Ouzel (3rd & 1st male), Spotted Flycatcher (11 biggest day count) , Pied Flycatcher (1st spring male), Rook (2nd, 3rd & 4th) and Yellowhammer (1st)
2007 Wormwood Scrubs Year List – 87 species
Notables: Little Egret (2nd & 3rd), Egyptian Goose (3rd), Peregrine (4th), Hobby (3 records), Grey Plover (1st), Curlew (3rd & 4th) , Whimbrel (2nd), Woodcock (1st), Mediterranean Gull (5th & 1st mid-summer record), Cuckoo (3rd), Woodlark (2nd & 1st since early 90's), Richard's Pipit (2nd), Black Redstart (2nd & 3rd), Ring Ouzel (4th), Dartford Warbler (4th) and Rook (5th).
2007 Kensal Green Cemetery Year List -52 species
Notables: Buzzard (1st), Peregrine (1st), Snipe (1st), Rook (1st), Linnet (c45 in winter flock).
2008 Wormwood Scrubs Year List - 98 species
Notables: Great Crested Grebe (4th), Bittern (1st), Shelduck (3rd), Tufted Duck (3rd), Osprey (1st), Honey Buzzard (2nd), Common Buzzard (c2nd), Peregrine, Hobby, Pheasant (c3rd), Moorhen (3rd), Greenshank (2nd), Whimbrel (3rd), Curlew (5th), Mediterranean Gull (2 records including 1st longstayer), Tawny Owl (1st), Short-eared Owl (5th), Cuckoo (4th), Nightingale (5th), Ring Ouzel (6th - first multiple record ((2 males)) that stayed for 2 days), Firecrest (1st), Little Bunting (1st).
2009 Wormwood Scrubs Year List - 94 species
Notables: Brent Goose (1st), Little Egret (4th & 5th), Tufted Duck (5th), Common Buzzard (5 biggest day count), Goshawk (1st), Peregrine, Hobby, Red-legged Partridge (3 records), Mediterranean Gull (2 records), Kingfisher (3 records), Short-eared Owl (6th), Cuckoo (5th and first autumn adult), Woodlark (3rd), Rock Pipit (2nd), Water Pipit (1st), Richard's Pipit (3rd), House Martin (c2,000 over 6 days in autumn), Black Redstart (4th), Ring Ouzel (perhaps up to 5 and certainly 3 with at least 1 female lingering for nearly 2 weeks), Grasshopper Warbler (2nd), Cetti's Warbler (1st), Dartford Warbler (5th).