I have settled on my 2013 'Natural History' project and am already looking forward to it with great excitement. I am going to take that ultimate birding vicar, Gilbert White, as my role model, and immerse myself in studying the natural history of the hills and fields of north Surrey. There are a few rules that I am going to impose on myself however:
At all times I will wear a dog-collar and tri-cornered hat, breeches and buckled shoes.
I will shoot anything that I cannot identify, or if I come across a flock.
I will travel everywhere on horseback and stay in an inn each evening.
I will refer to all birds in their original state - such as Wood-Wren, Fern Owl, Bramblefinch - and if I come across such species as Water Pipit, Caspian Gull and Willow Tit refuse to recognise the modern interlopers.
I will employ a man to climb the dizzy heights of such peaks as Box Hill to collect alpine specimens for me.
I will correspond only by post and let interested parties know of my finds three weeks after they have gone.
I will start an egg collection and hold informal evenings showing off my exhibits to like-minded fellows.
I will collect butterfly abberations, sell limed finches to ruffians in the marketplacess and produce lavishly illustrated books with names such as 'Ornithological procrastinations from the woods and dales of northern Surrey' and 'Lepidopterum introspectum Britannica'.