How I got into Birding

My first mentor and 'spark' bird.
From a very early age, around 10/11 I had it in my head to learn about Nature.
Why I know not. I certainly was not encouraged at home or school. Brought up within streets of back to back brick houses.
I thought that to learn about nature was a wonderful thing.
That thought was a subconscious thought that stayed with me.
At the age of 15 I bought a camera, Kodak 127, thought I was interested in photography, again a subconscious thought, and it turns out I was.
I progressed to 35mm photography with different makes of cameras.
Sometime in the 1980's I found I had time on my hands.
My photography was useful but I was not very good in colour but black and white was the best and I had my own darkroom, as I often went for a few days camping in the Lake District. There I made full use as finances would allow with 35mm slide film.
Again in the 1980's I met a friend locally and found we both had an interest in birds. He was very knowledgeable and used to say, that bird is a so and so, this one is a so and so, and I thought that was marvelous. We used to visit a local nature reserve.
I thought I could pick that up but looking back I can see that the knowledge he gained was through 'going out there' and observing and I could not spend a lot of time at birding as I had a young family and I chose to put them first.
We drifted apart but my interest in birds and nature stayed with me, it was just finding the time with work, children and mortgage.
Fast forward to the start of the 21st century where we had just moved house with a decent size garden (manageable) amongst trees and shrubs.
We, my wife and I, started to be visited by a family of crows. the male had a bent leg and we called him 'pegleg' so we knew it was the same bird/s.
At the time digital photography came on the scene and I always had an interest in photography.
I got myself a digital camera and started to take photographs of them.
The species increased as we looked in the garden and started noticing more. We became observers of birds.
Fast forward a few years of indifferent images I found that, through trial and error, that if I was going to get the images I wanted I had to look into equiptment and get nearer for that I needed a hide. See Bird feeding and Photography area in the section 'Natural World'.
Along now with my photography I extended my birding into the science of Ornithology.
You could say that I have been observing a number of years with a slow start but that has now switly sped up the graph of knowledge.