From the moment that I arrived at my new riverside home, I was very aware of the huge amount of birdlife that surrounded me.
With our home offering such an expansive view over the river and surrounding countryside, there is certainly a wealth of wildlife to watch. Various gulls ride up and down the river on the tides and circle noisily overhead; swans glide gracefully past, sometimes pausing to rest on the opposite bank; cormorants sit drying their wings on the mudbanks; a lone heron can often been seen on sentry duty at the water’s edge, and was for a time, joined by a couple of egrets.
When all this is playing out right in front of your nose, it’s hard not to develop at least a passing interest in nature. I did wonder whether the novelty of watching the birds would soon wear off, but I’ve become keener than ever, to the extent (and surprise of my husband) that my Christmas list for this year includes a new pair of binoculars!
For me, I suppose this is actually a return to birdwatching – revisiting a pastime that I was encouraged in as a child. We spent many a family holiday, drifting round the Norfolk Broads with my Dad eagerly pointing out various feathered species. I just couldn’t ignore his enthusiasm. I soon learnt to identify the grebes, moorhens, dabchicks etc, and was given the ‘I-Spy Book Of Birds’, which became a holiday staple.
I’ve now progressed to a couple of slightly weightier bird-identification tomes, but remain quite childlike in my excitement when I see something that’s a little unusual. I’m now eagerly trying to identify birdsong, something that’s currently proving a slightly frustrating experience, but hopefully I’ll learn.
So compulsive twitcher I am not, but I do enjoy spending some happy interludes enjoying the constant comings and goings of the birds around my new home.