I might have explained before - get your tiny violins out - but my job is rather intense. And so it should be frankly and I deserve no sympathy whatsoever. As December ticks over into January, Year End reporting kicks in and lasts for weeks and weeks and weeks. Once upon a time I was only involved in a part of it and I was over and done much quicker.l, but nothing ever stays the same and alongside massive regulatory change my responsibilities have also grown substantially. I only recently surfaced for air to find a sea of neglect stretching to the far horizon.
My greenhouse in is dire straits. For obvious reasons I did not fire up the heaters this year and it has been carnage. I am not sure I have the emotional energy to deal with it, but deal with it I will have to. In summary I need a skip. Then there was the London Bird Report for 2021. Luckily I did a lot of the prep work for this back in 2022, but as seems to be increasingly the case I ended up delivering my work much later than I had hoped to. There were many other boring things too, too dull to list save one. This blog.
It appears to be been about six weeks since I last wrote anything. Six weeks! Mind you it is not as though I have done much birding in Wanstead that I can report on. I can count my patch visits in 2023 on one hand! I did manage some birding in Fife back in Feburary when we went up for a few days during half term, but that is the only non-local UK birding I have managed this year barring a cheeky visit to Staines in January. It's not really very note-worthy, and given I enjoy birding so much I do worry how I can let it slide quite so easily. The trouble is that real life gets in the way. I am aware that other people have real life too and yet still manage to go birding a great deal, so this is perhaps unique to me. Perhaps it has something to do with leaving the local grapevine back in January? You may or may not recall that I crafted a long and moany post about news dissemination on the patch towards the start of the year. To cut a long story short I gave up and quit. Despite attempts to regulate the output, Redwings and Blackbirds continued to be considered noteworthy and I threw my toys out my pram and left. I have still not rejoined and I have no idea what I have missed during the period other than being able to say that my Wanstead year list is lower than at any equivalent mid-March date that I have lived here. Actually that is not true, I do know that I have missed the first of this year's Wheatears on the patch. I was considering venturing out this week to have a look but as luck would have it I contracted Covid again instead and so wasn't able to. I can report that it is nearly but not quite as fun second time around, but that it seems to be quicker and rather than a ten day rollercoaster it is more like five. Still, I suppose it is good to get a new whack of antibodies as there is no sign of another booster coming my way any time soon. Hopefully this has me covered for a little while.
I suppose what I could have blogged about was a little bit of travel, but I never got round to it. There is, as usual, a fair bit to consider. I went to Greece briefly in late January, driving clockwise around the Corinthian Gulf over the course of a weekend, birding some brilliant wetlands in Western Greece and then getting a wholesome dollop of culture by visiting the ancient site of the Oracle at Delphi. Then as mentioned above I had a long weekend in Fife in mid February where I got a good dose of winter birding - Geese, Ducks, Waders and Auks that are all in short supply in the south east are plentiful along the Fife Coast and even though I was only able to go birding for a few hours it was just superb. I even managed a Fife tick in the form of a Black Guillemot off Leven. More recently, in late February, I had a manic few days birding the southern half of the Yucutan peninsula. Mick and I flew to Cancun and then drove as far away from Cancun as we could, using remote Mayan ruins as a way to get into pristine forest. This was unguided birding and extremely hard work, but ultimately incredibly rewarding and great fun. I'll get to it on here in due course. And then this weekend prior to being struck down I went to Lisbon for a city break and walked about 40km in two days, which may not sound enormous but flat Lisbon most definitely is not! This week when all the aches and pains kicked in I initially assumed it was Portugese hills that had done for me before putting two and two together and taking a lateral flow test. Remember those?!
Anyway life goes on - rapidly - how is it mid March already? I've blogged about this about eight million times before, but I simply have more hobbies and interests than I have time outside of work to pursue. The busier you are the quicker time passes I suppose, and to my mind I just have so much going on that I have to be quite picky about what I do. I am probably just being dramatic. Anyway, suffice to say that blogging fell off the bottom of the list again but that I am still alive and kicking. And coughing.
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