I have rarely gone anywhere with the specific aim of watching birds. My bird watching has usually happened while I was doing something else. That’s how it started anyway.
Mum and Dad were brought up as city-dwellers. They never showed much interest in wildlife when I was young although they enjoyed country walks when we could get them. I grew up knowing only a few bird’s names – robins, thrushes and blackbirds, seagulls, swans and ducks and maybe some others that cropped up in my children’s books like owls and jackdaws.
My interest was not sparked until I read my first Arthur Ransome book, The Big Six at the age of about eleven. While sailing was the main activity of the groups of children whose adventures were featured in Ransome’s children’s books, birdwatching, with a strong emphasis on bird protection, featured in most of them and was a particular theme of The Big Six. I realised on reading it that this was a sequel to another book which I soon located in the Carnegie Library in Portadown. This was Coot Club. By the time I had read all twelve of the series, from Swallows and Amazons to Great Northern? I was fully versed in birdwatching and the philosophy of bird protection, or conservation, as we would call it now. I was then fourteen and it was to be many years before I used this book-learned knowledge in practical activities.
I have rarely travelled anywhere with the specific aim of watching birds. My bird watching has usually happened while I was doing something else. That’s how it started anyway. And that’s mostly how it has continued. That’s why I have called this blog The Accidental Birdwatcher.