Welcome to my birdwatching blog. This blog will contain stories about my bird watching trips, interesting bird news and other tales that may or may not be bird related. I want to make it useful to the avid birder as well as those who may only have a passing interest in bird watching. I enjoy photographing bird life, common and rare through a spotting scope, not that they always sit still long enough for me. Being on the outskirts of North East London, my reports will not only cover my local patch of Redbridge/Waltham Forest, but also dip into deepest Essex, Suffolk, Kent and Norfolk.

Thursday, 19 March 2015


As is often the case with me, I watch a report of a 'good' bird and then um and ah about whether I should go for it or not. Often it’s not because the twitching thing although exciting, just doesn’t lie in my blood. I like my birding to be a release, a relaxation away from the stresses of work and and well, work.

This doesn’t mean of course I don’t imagine getting a first for the UK or even a second. I have dipped plenty in my time, not least those jokers in the shape of Parrot Crossbills at Gunners Park even though I only worked down the road.

So you can imagine when the pair of Serins turned up at the same said Park, I wondered should I? But left it. Then I get a day off. I get to thinking and I get to going up the A127 to haunts of old.

The weather was shit. Low grey swirls of mist descended on the Essex east side and even arriving at the spot my brain went into panic mode. I convinced myself I had made a bad choice; the birds had been here for a couple of months and were now only being seen sporadically.

The favourite spot for the Serins had lots of activity. Greenfinches, Dunnocks, Song Thrushes and Great Tits were everywhere. No sign of serins though. A few other birders joined me and we split up to cover the area. Eventually I heard one singing deep in a bramble bush. Trouble is , it saw me and flew away low and toward the sea. Nothing for at least 30 minutes after that and a long search found nothing. The sky was beginning to break so I took a break and walked along the seawall for a bit.

I found some nice Turnstones and a few Brent geese close to the shore but my focus was still on getting a shot, even a record one of the serins.

All the dog walkers in essex were now out and about and where the new houses have sprung up, workmen were sand-blasting pretty driveways making a terrible noise. 'Fat chance now' I thought but I was here so I might as well have another look.

Another pair of birders were on the hunt and we met up and exchanged notes. They seems pleased that I had seen one and we started to search afresh. Before long, one of them called that a Serin was on the far side of the pond. Sure enough, the distinct yellow glow was clear to see as it flitted through the trees. I like God, God always seems to come good if you try hard enough and for that matter, pray hard enough. Our little continental friend must of sensed our frustration and flew right over to us and straight into a bush only metres from us. My camera went into overdrive...

This was my first European Serin in the UK. What a beauty! So, no dip this time and as Del boy would say, He who dares Rodney, he who dares....

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