Funnily enough, my actual highlight from yesterday was non-avian in origin.

I spied a couple of visitors and thought mmm... I know that gentleman. The penny dropped and I realised that it was Peter Holden who headed up the Young Ornithologists Club way back in the day when I was first entering the wondrous world of the RSPB and birds. 

I was talking to a friend this evening about what Peter meant to us kids back in the early '80s and she said " I suppose he was a bit like your Baden Powell". I could not have put it better.

Not only did Peter come and visit our Redbridge YOC Group in Wanstead Park one cold winters day in 1984 but I also got to shake his hand again when I became Young Ornithologist of the Year in 1986.

I have encountered Peter several times since in a work capacity and it was a pleasure to catch up and see him and his son out enjoying Rainham Marshes at its best on a sunny winters day.

And the strange thing about all of this is that on Saturday night I came across my old album of cuttings from 1986 and chortled at the bad hair, even worse hat and inane grin. Still one of my proudest moments...

Mandy Sedge, Rob Hume, Peter Holden and Tim Sharrock behind the three winners... Rob interviewed me for Birds magazine 20 years later when we opened the Rainham visitors centre...

And we got into British Birds too!

I sincerely apologise to the Fashion Police....

In all all honesty, this was probably the moment when I realised that this passion for birds was in my blood to stay and would lead me onto to bigger things...

13-1-14

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