I moved to London in 1997 and in October 1998 bought a flat near the Brent Res, which turned out to be just a few doors down from Andrew Self. Brent Res has been one of my local patches ever since, although I only started doing it regularly in 2001 and shamefully never saw the 1999 Purple Heron there despite living so close!

My best finds at Brent to date have been Alpine Swift and Long-tailed Duck, supported by Bewick's Swan, White-fronted Goose and Wood Sandpiper. Luckily I was within a 2-minute jog to where Leo Batten found the Hume's Warbler on 1/5/04 and am now approaching 150 species for the site (which is still miles behind the pack leaders Messrs Batten, Beddard, Self and Verrall!).

Since August 2005 I've lived in Woodside Park (North Finchley, N12) and so spend much less time at Brent and more on my 'new' local patch of Totteridge Valley. Despite the profusion of dog-walkers and joggers at weekends, there is still a lot of potential. My best finds so far have included all five regular owls, two Turtle Doves, Ring Ouzel, Raven, Crossbills, and several Grasshopper Warblers and Firecrests. Not to mention a decent mammal list that includes Weasel, Brown Hare, Badger, Nathusius' Pipistrelle, and Natterer's, Daubenton's and Brown long-eared Bats. The latest Site List on the Wiki shows scarce bird species seen so far this year.

I've also thoroughly enjoyed covering Totteridge Valley for the BTO Atlas, and record for the annual BTO Breeding Bird Survey at the site each spring. My next daft idea is to compile a full record of notable bird sightings at the Valley since 1950 (and earlier if I can find much!).

I haven't done very much overseas birding but trips to Ecuador/Galapagos and Namibia/Botswana in 2003-4 were both awesome experiences: my best ever find has to be southern Africa's 4th Wilson's Phalarope, at Walvis Bay salt-pans in Namibia on 9/11/04, which led to some southern African listers chartering a flight from Cape Town.

PatchList 2007 - records for Totteridge Valley / Highwood Hill Edit

Summary at 30th September:

No. visits by ISE = 27

2007 Species (ISE) = 84 ...... 2007 Species (all observers) = 87 ...... 2007 as % of 2006 total (92) = 94.6%

Key to Status column:

B = breeds; b = possibly breeds / has bred.

r = resident all year; s = summer visitor; w = winter visitor; p = passage migrant in spring/autumn; o = occasional visitor at any time of year.

5 = abundant; 4 = common; 3 = fairly common; 2 = scarce; 1 = rare; 0 = vagrant.

Species Status Seen 2006 Date first seen by ISE in 07 Notes
Little Grebe s/2 7th May A pair at Moat Mount.
Cormorant o/2 Y 7th Mar Singles over on 7/3 and 4/4.
Grey Heron r/3 Y 1st Jan
Mute Swan r/2 23rd Apr One at Mote End Farm.
Canada Goose Br/3 Y 1st Jan
Mandarin Duck Br/3 Y 1st Jan Breeding resident at Darlands Lake, sometimes seen elsewhere. 14 on 4/2; 4 ducklings on 20/5, (reduced by Herons to 2 on 23/5).
Teal w/3 Y 1st Jan Winter visitor to Darlands Lake (mainly Sep-Apr).
Mallard Br/4 Y 1st Jan
Shoveler w/1 Y
Sparrowhawk Br/3 Y 1st Jan Probably 3-4 pairs.
Common Buzzard o/2 Y 28th Apr One seen from Mote Mount on 28/4. 2 over Totteridge Valley in August (JPC).
Red Kite o/1 Y >>> One was seen in spring.
Kestrel Br/3 Y 3rd Feb Probably 3 pairs.
Hobby bs/2 Y 28th Apr One seen from Mote Mount on 28/4; one at Totteridge Valley on 26/8.
Pheasant Br/3 Y 18th Feb Probably 20-40 birds in the valley.
Red-legged Partridge br/2 Y 7th Apr Possibly a few pairs breed.
Water Rail w/1
Moorhen Br/4 Y 1st Jan Common near water.
Coot bs/2 Y 23rd Apr Occasional visitor to Darlands Lake and Mote End Farm.
Lapwing bp/2 Y 4th Mar 5 seen 4/3; 4 on 17/3 through to late April.
Golden Plover p/1 Y
Woodcock w/2 Y* 4th Feb One near southern end of Darlands Lake on 4/2.
Snipe w/1
Black-headed Gull w/4 - s/2 Y 1st Jan c80 on 4/3; 6 on 7/4.
Common Gull w/4 Y 1st Jan 450+ at Folly Farm on 4/3; c250 on 17/3; 2 on 7/4 then not until 30/9.
Lesser Black-backed Gull w/4 - s/3 Y 1st Jan
Herring Gull w/3 - s/2 Y 1st Jan
Great Black-backed Gull w/2 Y >>> An adult flew over Darlands on 21/1 [JPC].
Common Tern o/2 20th May One over Totteridge Fields on 20/5. Also two over Totteridge Valley on 6/5 [JPC].
Feral Rock Dove Br/4 Y 1st Jan
Stock Dove Br/3 Y 1st Jan
Woodpigeon Br/5 Y 1st Jan
Collared Dove Br/3 Y 1st Jan
Ring-necked Parakeet o/2 Y 3rd Feb 2 regularly visiting feeders in Westbury Road gardens during Feb/Mar.
Cuckoo bp/2 Y 14th Apr One singing at Totteridge Fields from 14/4 till at least 20/4.
Tawny Owl Br/3 Y 1st Jan Probably 4+ pairs.
Little Owl Br/3 Y 4th Apr At least 3 pairs in the area.
Swift bs/4 Y 1st May
Kingfisher br/3 Y 1st Jan Scarcer between May and Sep.
Green Woodpecker Br/3 Y 1st Jan Several pairs.
Greater Spotted Woodpecker Br/4 Y 1st Jan Common and widespread, probably well in excess of 10 pairs.
Lesser Spotted Woodpecker br/2 Y 1st Jan Possibly 1-2 pairs present. 1 drumming on 9/4.
Swallow Bs/4 Y 4th Apr A few breeding pairs still at Burtonhole and Frith Manor Farms.
House Martin bs/3 Y 20th Apr Last seen 30/9.
Sand Martin p/2 Y*
Skylark p/2 Y 23rd Apr Heard singing at Mote Mount on 23/4. Passage birds on 30/9.
Meadow Pipit p/4 - w/2 Y 7th Mar Common on passage in Mar/Apr and Sep/Oct. 40+ on 17/3; 1 on 20/4.
Yellow Wagtail p/2 Y 12th Aug One over at Totteridge Fields on 12/8 and 27/8.
Grey Wagtail Br/3 Y 10th Mar Present along water courses in small numbers, more frequent in summer.
Pied Wagtail Br/4 Y 1st Jan 70+ present on ploughed field in mid-Jan.
Wren Br/5 Y 1st Jan
Dunnock Br/4 Y 1st Jan
Robin Br/5 Y 1st Jan
Redstart p/2 Y
Whinchat p/2 Y >>> A female in the valley on 13/5 [JPC].
Stonechat p/2 Y* 30th Sep 4 at Totteridge Valley and 2 at Totteridge Fields on 30/9.
Wheatear p/2 Y Mostly encountered as a spring migrant.
Blackbird Br/5 Y 1st Jan
Ring Ouzel p/1 15th Apr A female just south of Totteridge Long Pond on 15/4.
Fieldfare w/4 Y 1st Jan 33+ on 3/2; c40 on 4/3; 10 on 17/3; 1 on 9/4 and 14/4.
Song Thrush Br/4 Y 1st Jan
Redwing w/4 Y 1st Jan c110 on 18th Feb, c180 on 4/3; 8+ on 4/4; 1 on 30/9.
Mistle Thrush Br/3 Y 1st Jan
Lesser Whitethroat Bs/3 Y 14th Apr Probably 7-8 pairs in Totteridge Valley in 2006.
Whitethroat Bs/4 Y 20th Apr Probably 13 pairs in Totteridge Valley in 2006.
Garden Warbler bs/2 Y 7th May
Blackcap Bs/4 - w/2 Y 29th Mar
Grasshopper Warbler Bs/1 Y 14th Apr One reeling from 14/4 till at least 20/4.
Willow Warbler Bs/3 Y 14th Apr Probably 3 pairs in Totteridge Valley in 2006.
Chiffchaff Bs/4 - w/2 Y 11th Mar 8 on 17/3; 22 on 8/4.
Wood Warbler p/2 Y*
Sedge Warbler p/2 23rd May One singing at Darlands Lake on 23/5.
Reed Warbler p/2 Y*
Goldcrest Br/4 Y 1st Jan Probably 4+ pairs in 2006.
Firecrest p/1 - w/1 Y 4th Apr One singing at Totteridge Fields on 4/4; another or same singing in Totteridge Valley in April (TC).
Spotted Flycatcher p/3 Y 26th Aug 2 at Totteridge Fields on 26/8.
Long-tailed Tit Br/4 Y 1st Jan
Blue Tit Br/5 Y 1st Jan
Great Tit Br/5 Y 1st Jan
Coal Tit Br/4 Y 1st Jan
Nuthatch Br/3 Y 1st Jan Probably 4+ pairs.
Treecreeper Br/3 Y 1st Jan Probably 4+ pairs.
Jay Br/4 Y 1st Jan
Magpie Br/4 Y 1st Jan
Jackdaw br/4 Y 1st Jan Max. 180+ at Folly Farm on 1/1.
Rook w/3 Y 1st Jan Max. 25 at Folly Farm on 1/1.
Carrion Crow Br/5 Y 1st Jan
Starling Br/4 Y 1st Jan 400+ on 4/3, incl 300 near Finchley Nurseries.
House Sparrow Br/4 Y 2nd Jan Still fairly common in residential areas.
Tree Sparrow o/1 Y
Chaffinch Br/4 Y 1st Jan
Brambling w/2 Y
Greenfinch Br/3 Y 1st Jan
Goldfinch Br/3 Y 1st Jan
Linnet bs/2 Y 20th Apr 2 at TV and 2 at TF on 20/4. [First sighting was one singing on 11/4 [JPC]]
Siskin w/3 Y 30th Sep At least 2 heard over Totteridge Fields on 30/9.
Lesser Redpoll w/2 Y 1st Jan 1 on 1/1; 3 on 21/1; 1 on 30/9.
Bullfinch Br/3 Y 1st Jan
Yellowhammer o/2
Reed Bunting o/2 Y