Brandon Hill Nature Blog

22 09 2011

A naturalist and birder who spends his spare time in Bristol wildlife-watching in Brandon Hill nature reserve, documenting his many glorious finds on his blog – http://brandonhillnature.wordpress.com/ – has built up a substantial collection of stories, photographs and videos about wildlife in the park, from slugs to peregrine falcons, as well as some stunning photographs.

Sam Hobson (right) is a freelance advertising retoucher by day, but his degree in wildlife photography and an interest in natural history has led to his pictures and words being published in magazines, books and newspapers.

He lives in Clifton which means that Brandon Hill is on his doorstep. “I spend most of my spare time there, watching the wildlife that comes and goes as the seasons change,” Sam says.

“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 a 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.”

The reopening of Cabot Tower last month gave Sam literally a new perspective from where to persue his hobby. If it’s all about the views for most of us climbing up the 109 steps, for Sam these views elicit even more potential for studying wildlife: juvenile gulls being fed on surrounding rooftops, peregrines on the Wills Memorial Tower, and migrating songbirds and wood pigeons passing overhead.

Before leaving London, Sam was part of an urban bird migration study that met weekly at the top of Tower 42, the tallest skyscraper in the City of London. He is now planning to keep on “high-rise birding”, as he calls it, on Cabot Tower and start a Bristol urban migration watch group that can combine its results with the Tower 42 study.

If you are a budding or experienced ornithologist and would like to be part of the group, email cabottowerbsg@gmail.com, tweet via @bristolnature or say hello to Sam if you see him on Brandon Hill. He says he will be the one with the dodgy sandals on.

All of Sam’s photos of birds, insects and animals on Brandon Hill are taken on a Canon G10 compact camera. He doesn’t have a long lens, so has to get quite close-up to get his subjects to fill the frame. Below is selection of some of Sam’s favourite pictures, taken since he began documenting the park’s wildlife at the beginning of this year.


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16 02 2012

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