Sunday, 1 August 2010

Big Garden Sky Watch

I am not particularly mobile at the moment for reasons I have moaned enough about. A quiet day therefore beckoned, and bar a quick dash up to Stansted to collect number one son, I deliberately made no plans. Even if I were fully fit, I could not be up and on the Flats early as Mrs L is away selfishly pursuing one of her hobbies. This left a choice between having a lie in, and doing a garden watch.

I am a birder, not some kind of layabout, so the garden watch was on. Alarm set, and I was on the terrace and manning the obs from about half five, and almost immediately I could tell it was going to be a good day. By 6am I was on about 15 species, and then two Hobbies went over together, really high, flapping quickly in the cold air before turning and gliding back down.

I had to pack it in at 8am to sort and breakfast followed by an airport run, but already on 27 species my personal best total of 31 was in sight. Back home by 11am, I was hard back at it from my deck chair again, and House Sparrow, Chaffinch and a single Swallow zinging south put me on the brink. And that unfortunately was how it stayed. No Dunnock, no Long-tailed Tit, and not a single Warbler. No Herring Gull or Heron, and no Song Thrush. Rats. I could go and stand in the garden in the dark, listening out for a Coot flying about or something, but life is too short, and I have another article to write. The topic this time is sea-watching, very seasonal I thought. Though obviously the real reason for writing it is that I get to mention the Fea's Petrel in a national magazine.

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