My name is Sam Hobson and I am a naturalist and birder with a degree in wildlife photography and an interest in natural history writing. My pictures and words have been published in a number of magazines, books and papers, but I mainly keep wildlife-watching as a hobby and an antidote to my day-job.
I moved to Bristol in December 2010 after living in London for most of my life (with brief spells in south Devon and the north of England) and have found it to be the perfect mix of rural and urban, with many nature reserves, easy access to the surrounding countryside and loads of great urban nature.
Brandon Hill Nature Park is right on my doorstep and I spend most of my spare time there, watching the wildlife that comes and goes as the seasons change. Brandon Hill isn’t a massive park and it’s not far from the centre of town, so my expectations are always low – but that’s what makes it all the more exciting when an unusual seabird flies past overhead, a large group of migrant warblers fall, or when on a peaceful winter’s morning, a sparrowhawk bursts out of the scrub, scattering the resident songbirds and causing an eruption of panic.
Before leaving London, I was part of an urban bird migration study organised by David Lindo, that met once weekly at the top of Tower 42 (formerly the NatWest tower). This reignited my passion for urban wildlife and I was inspired by David’s mantra “anything can turn up anywhere and at anytime”.
Since moving to Bristol, I have kept on high-rise birding, and now that the crowning glory of Brandon Hill – Cabot Tower has reopened, I have started a Bristol urban migration watch group that combines its results with the Tower 42 study in a wider visible UK urban migration study.
The view from Cabot Tower might not be quite as impressive as the view from T42, but as Bristol is a much smaller town than London, there is no need to be quite as high as Tower 42 to get just as spectacular a vantage point to look out for migrating birds.
All are welcome and if you would like to be part of the group, contact me here firstname.lastname@example.org, or say hello if you see me at the hill (that’s me with the dodgy sandals on).