I've been off the radar recently industriously working away here at The Urban Birder Factory. I was working on the usual things including TV programme treatments, checking out The Scrubs and general plotting and planning. Throw in a bit of football and a tad of socialising and that's the sum total of what I've been up to.
On Sunday, I continued to visit some of the locations that I plan to write about in my forthcoming BBC Wildlife piece. In the morning, after a brief visit to The Scrubs to film the first of a new series of video blogs that I plan to put on the net, I headed over to relatively nearby Yeading Brook Meadows, some 3 miles up the A40. This area of scrub and woodland is part of a collection of nature reserves along the Hillingdon Trail. This whole area is totally underwatched but quite interesting with breeding Little Owl to its credit.
Later in the afternoon I met with Roger Browne and Peter Alfrey at Beddington (Sewage) Farm for a guided tour.
Beddington Farm looking north east
The Croydon skyline as seen from Beddington Farm
Beddington Birders: Roger Browne, Peter Alfrey & TUB
It had changed beyond all recognition to the place I used to bird for a few years during the '80's. The guys explained the complicated conservation issues that were at hand - issues that I will raise more comprehensively in my forthcoming article and on my website.
But in short, there has been some amazing birds found here and the site boasts perhaps the largest Tree Sparrow colony in Britain. Although the owners of the land have good intentions on paper, it seems as though the conservation measures are not being implemented as proposed and instead, the site is being slowly eroded away by construction.
Standing on top of the watch point mound (known by the local birders as Mt Beddington) I could clearly see that this site - which is practically 4 times larger than the London Wetland Centre - was a sleeping colossus. With proper management it would be the best birding site in London by far, in my opinion.
I will keep you updated on this potentially amazing urban paradise.