It should have been easy and pleasurable. Instead it was arduous and laborious. Yes, I was talking about getting out of bed early to go to The Scrubs this morning. The alarm chimed at 5.30am and after dreaming that I was out of bed and observing a first for Britain at my patch, I finally woke up and hauled myself out of bed at 7.15am.
Some 20 minutes later I was stalking the realms of my patch feeling unusually energy sapped. I even had to sit down on a bench for a short while. This was my first visit for several weeks, so it was nice to see the grassland in such a healthy state with an abundance of thistle that I haven't seen for several years. Indeed, there were in excess of 150 mostly juvenile Goldfinches (accompanied by a handful of Linnets) feeding on them. Along the embankment were family parties of Whitethroat and Blackcap and I noticed a male Lesser Whitethroat chasing a juvenile Goldfinch.
Of course, I shouldn't have been at The Scrubs at all this morning. I should have been 3 miles away not in bed but exploring Barn Hill & Fyrent Country Park. I'm leading a London Natural History Society walk there next Sunday and I really do need to get my act together and do a recce.
Both sites are contiguous and situated north east of The Scrubs in Wembley Park/Kingsbury quite close to the more famous Brent Reservoir. I know both sites very well having birded in them since I was a kid. Barn Hill is essentially a wooded hill that certainly in the past held Lesser Spotted Woodpecker and the country park is an area of grassland segmented by hedgerows, some of which date back to medieval times. It's a totally underwatched area and one I definitely would have been covering more had I not discovered Wormwood Scrubs.
Looks like I have some homework to do next week.