Birdwatching and its rewards

Birdwatching and its rewards

From a birding message Group I received a request to take an American visitor out for a walk and show him some British birds. As the visitor was staying in Surrey, where I live, I volunteered to help and chose a place near where he was staying at Cobham. My selection was the RHS garden area near Wisley.

I planned a route from an OS map and went a couple of days before the event to check the suitablilty. This opened my eyes to a completely new area and I thoroughly enjoyed exploring a new place in Surrey. This visit, a little more rushed than the one to take place a couple of days later, produced 47 species, nothing rare but a good list.

John Berners, the visitor works for BP in Houston, Texas and he has only been birding for 6 months or so. We met on a bright sunny warm morning and ventured around an area ranging from Wisley Common, the village, the local sewage works, open fields of parkland nature, Pyrford Golf Course, the River Wey and the Wey Navigation (canal) finishing with a walk through the RHS gardens. On the day, we found 46 species, not all the same as my first walk. Sadly, he missed Kingfisher and Bullfinch but he saw Common Tern and Grey Wagtail, both missing on my first walk.

John would be willing to help anyone who is visiting Houston and can provide some good internet contacts ? please let me know if you might be going so I can put you in touch. I found the exercise most rewarding, showing off our birds to a visitor is always a pleasure and I can recall trying to find someone to help me abroad on a couple of occasions to no avail. What better than someone helping you on their home ground! John made a very nice gesture at the end. He gave me a cheque for £20 for the ROC Conservation Fund. So, rewards all round and not least for me having a new area to show to people in future.

Colin Wilson –

2 June 2005