I love living in London. Just when you think you know a place, someone comes along and blows your notions out of the water.
I've been introduced to an amazing new space in Dalston, the Eastern Curve Garden. Anyone who knows the Dalston Peace Mural can find the entrance to this little green, wedge-shaped gem. It was established as a temporary community space but I hope it can find a way to remain. It's got wi-fi, picnic benches and huge potential for wildlife. There are grand plans to manage it with wildlife in mind. Which, in this built-up area, close to Ridley Road market, would be fantastic.
They'll be running a Big Garden Birdwatch event this Saturday. There's another on Tottenham Marshes run by the Wild Place Your Space project. The Friends of Greenwich Park have organised some activities in the Secret Garden and, on Sunday, the RSPB North West London Local Group are out in force in Canons Park. So, plenty to visit if you're not busy checking out the wildlife in your own hood!
For many Lodoners it will be a pretty unique experience; staring out your window for an hour, ignoring the distractions of mobile phones, Wii and online shopping. 60 minutes of peaceful contemplation. If we're not all careful, this 'slow ' approach to life could become habit forming. But, if this gentle activity seems too big a challenge, you can multi-task by having a warm cuppa at the same time or maybe discussing what you see with a partner, children or even a friend. You could post, Twitter or even text sightings if you're going techy cold turkey!
However you do it, thank you for participating. The info people send us helps direct future conservation work, ensuring the species most in need get help. A recent Government report found a fifth of our native birds are now red-listed. That's a worrying trend. Why are so many of our birds struggling to survive... or rephrased .. why aren't more people concerned that our wildlife isn't thriving? Have they not heard of the canaries in the coal mines?
Panic not. Just pull-up a chair to the window, have a pen or pencil and some notepaper close to hand and take direct action for global conservation by recording the birds you see and then sending us the results. You can then class yourself as an eco-warrior. If you're encouraged to do more by the simplicity of this plan, check out the options on offer and aspire to become an eco-chieftan, bravely leading others down a green path to a healthier, greener life ahead.