A brief history of me - Jonathan Lethbridge.

As birders go I am pretty young, and can still just about run for a bird, though I prefer not to. It all began in 1975, in Cambridge, which is where I spent the next 20 years, most of them at school. I'd love to say that I was a diligent and attentive pupil, but I was an utter minimalist, and there were too many distractions. I once had an unusually eloquent PE teacher who one year described me as "An enigma", and the following year, "Less of an enigma". When I was thirteen, the opportunity came up to replace PE with Latin, which seemed like a good idea at the time. A report from the teacher of that class said simply "Enjoys poking the person next to him with a pen"; my neighbour and fellow pen-enthusiast received the same lengthy summary. Shows I've always liked writing though...
Very few good photos of me exist, for obvious
 reasons. This is one of the best. I am on the left.
So that was school. I took a year off between sixth form and university, and went off to work in a Cognac factory in France, which was excellent. At the end of that year my family moved from Cambridge, and I headed off to University, the lovely and leafy Royal Holloway College in Surrey. This was to be my home for the next four years, and it was on my first day here that I met the future Mrs L, then Miss L (a different L). Somehow I managed to mostly lose my minimalist tendencies, or at least suppress them for a while, and arrived at the other end with a decent degree in French Art and Literature combined with the rather wishy-washy-sounding Management Studies. Naturally I went to work in a bank and didn't use any of it.
Miss L and I bought a nice little house in Beckton in East London, which is similar to Belgravia (the first letter), and a few years later she became Mrs L. A couple of years after that master L came along, and we moved to the centre of the known universe, Wanstead. Here we continued to over-populate the planet, adding two little girls to famille L. And it was here that my real birding began in earnest, and I became the diligent patch-worker that I am today.

I had always liked birds as a kid. I have books full of drawings, school projects, pads - all about birds. Where this came from I have no idea, certainly not my immediate family who would all struggle to point out a Blackbird, but it was more than a passing interest. Except that's exactly what happened - during my teenage years it predictably dwindled to nothing at all, and I didn't pick up binoculars again until my mid twenties. Even then it took me a while to get going, and despite birding on every holiday or trip, I didn't start birding at home until I moved to Wanstead.

Then the listing demons got hold of me. One saturday afternoon, bored, I went to Kent to see a Sharp-tailed Sandpiper. Amazingly I saw it, thus starting a run of hardly ever dipping that continues to this day, and was immediately impressed by it's rarity beauty. Happily I'm also fairly level-headed, so I pick and choose what I go for, and now have a UK list well over 400, but I'm still able to easily delude myself that I'm not really that much of a twitcher. It's all about Wanstead - that's the place that means most to me, and of the gazillions of lists that I keep, it's the garden list and the patch list that are the most important. The life list is good, but not in the same league. I also quite like my Essex list. Oh, and my London list....

This blog is therefore mostly about birding in Wanstead. And Essex. And London. And the rest of the country. And abroad. I like to limit myself. It is also possible that the odd non-birding-related post may sneak in, but not so that you'd notice. But if it does so happen that I have nothing to say about birds, I might write about things I like, which include my children, double-deckers, photography and moths. I might also write about things I don't like quite as much, such as June, injustices, muggers, scroungers and housework. Or perhaps something else entirely, for it is very rare that I have nothing to say. For this I apologise now.