The words were written by David Lindo, writer and broadcaster, who writes under the epithet of "The Urban Birder". A couple of months ago Nick Brown had pursuaded David to come up to Derby and to write a piece on Derby's birdwatching hotspots. Inevitably this meant a visit to Derby Cathedral to see our peregrines, and David had been amused and intrigued by the revelations that Nick B. loved nothing better to do than scour around for the remains of unusual prey items dropped by our peregrines. We'd already found the remains of a Little Grebe on one of the grotesques, and Nick had jokingly described himself as being a "dead bird watcher". For someone dedicated to birdwatching in the urban environment, David Lindo loved the idea. And so began his article on page 47 of the July issue of Bird Watching.
We had taken him right along the River Derwent corridor, starting at Darley Abbey and going through the beautiful Darley Park, arriving at Cathedral Green where I met up with Nick, David and his photographer, Russell Spencer.
Our trip ended at another project I was involved in setting up - The Sanctuary Bird Reserve - next to Derby County football stadium. The site of a former landfill site, it's now home to countless more Sand Martins but also to Ringed and Little Ringed Plovers, Little Grebes, Skylarks, Reed Buntingss, Lapwing and many many other birds which have become increasingly rare across Derby as more and more land is put to commercial use.
It was great to see the Little Ringed Plovers mating and to watch numerous Wheatears which had stopped off on their way northwards to their summer breeding grounds. Beside me, our dead bird watcher was very much alive. Nick and David are both far better birders than I am, and it was impressive to hear them debating whether or not the tiny dot Nick had just spotted, floating high above our heads, was a Honey Buzzard high in the skies overhead. Whetever it was, even higher up still, perhaps a thousand feet or more in the air , a peregrine, almost invisible even with binoculars was circling, looking for food. And we also .......
.... Well, I could go on.
But why not read the The Urban Birder's article yourself in the July issue Bird Watching Magazine. It's just £3.95. Or take a walk down the River Derwent and see some of Derby's magic birdlife sites for yourself.
David Lindo, The Urban Birder, beside the River Derwent Sand Martin colony (photo NM)
Artificial Sand Martin bank and lake at The Sanctuary, Pride Park. (photo NM)
You can read a little about the the Urban Birder's visit to Derby on his blog, here.