Saturday 12 December 2009

What shall I write about today?

Given that it has been a couple of days since the last post I was just pondering what I might write about. Earlier this week I amazed myself and churned out post after post, but since then have been suffering from Blog burn-out. Kind of like talking nineteen-to-the-dozen without pausing at any point for breath and just going on and on and on and on in a stream of pure consciousness that you could not recount if you even tried and then when you do finally start to pass out and desparately gulp in some air you suddenly forget what it was you were talking about and just do a goldfish impression.
I did get a vague sense that I might be putting a few people off with the absurd quantity, but went ahead and pressed "publish" anyway. Live the dream! Turns out many readers quite like Dire Straits (a few misguided souls aside - you know who you are.) but that nobody other than me experienced any massively scarring injustices as a kid. Which is absurd, as one of the phrases heard most frequently in this house at least is a strangled cry of

"But it's not FAIR, xyz other child did xyz other thing and I want to too!!"
"No, you're not doing / having it / them / whatever, now leave me alone, I'm writing my blog."

Clearly you all remain so deeply traumatised that you still can't talk about it and not even the Wanstead Birder 'sofa' can induce you to open up. Freud would have you believe that this repression is unconscious, involuntary - nonsense, it's because you have to have a Google account to leave a comment and that requires yet another bloody password.

Sniff, sniff. "Ahhh, kebab! My favourite!"

Anyway, it is the time of year when filler posts start creeping in with worrying frequency, and my last effort had nothing at all to do with birding. I do need to do my 2010 goals at some point, but in an odd twist on life imitating art, I can't be bothered at the moment.

Last night I went out to London Birders' Christmas Bevvy, and great fun it was too. A bit of a natter, some salacious gossip, no prizes for guessing what about, and a large selection of seasonal ales. All followed by a gratuitous kebab on Leytonstone High Road. My head hurt quite a lot this morning, but what better to clear the fug than to get out on the patch and see the same common birds that I see all the time?

Appropriately enough after my kebab roll, I basically followed the Fatso route, but in a fit of proper birding also went and checked the Old Sewage Works. Bar a decent flock of about 20 Chaffinch, there was nothing to keep up the interest so I went directly back to the Tea Hut for a deserved rest. Whilst there I had a pop at the Black-headed Gulls, some of which came out pretty well, proving that having the shakes is no bar to sharpness. No tripod either, perhaps I have discovered a unique new form of image stabilisation - excess beverage-induced shakes cancelling out normal movement for a rock-steady shooting style? I shall call it the Wetherspoon method. On the way back there were a couple of showy Ring-necked Parakeets, surveying their new manor, and the Goldeneye was still on Heronry. Oh, and I attracted a Rat.


  1. All right, help a dumb American out. What are the last two?

    P.S. I recall plenty of childhood traumas, but none of the adult-injustice sort--I tried but nothing came bubbling to the surface!

  2. Hi Laurel! Green Woodpecker & Long-tailed Tit.
    PS You can't tell if you're repressed, or something.

  3. Love your blog, Jonathan and you're getting a following here in Oberlin. Two Comments: (1) Your photos are wonderful and I'd like to know more about your cameras and your photography work. (2)Having you included a picture of a magpie here? Are there magpies in England? We have many in the summer in northern Wyoming.
    Keep up the good work! Marly Merrill

  4. Hi Marly, I had no idea these ramblings had made it to Oberlin! Good thing I don't swear very much...
    I have used 2 cameras for the photos on here. Up until October it was a Canon 50D, and more recently I have ditched that and now use an older (but better) one called a 1Dmk2. Most often I use a 300mm lense, and sometimes a 400mm - particularly in Wanstead as it is smaller and lighter. I'd hesitate to call it 'work', I basically point the camera at stuff and press the button. Hopefully one day I'll have more time to pursue it properly.
    The picture above (above the Parakeet and below the Gull) is indeed a Magpie, but a different species to the ones you would see. Ours is Pica pica, whereas I imagine yours is Pica hudsonia. Whichever, they are basically the same bird - very clever, very vocal, very common, yet very attractive. I suspect that birders here don't give them as much time as they should - if you look closely they are amazing.
    Nice to see you on here! Who else in Oberlin has found it, and how???! Is this Vera again??!