Friday 17 June 2011

Moving on up

Whilst it would have been difficult to beat the Small Elephant Hawkmoth, the reality of steady rain and cold, windy nights has meant that the comedown has been quicker than expected. Last night, a solitary Heart and Dart and a bunch of soggy egg-boxes were all we could manage. As I type, it is still raining, so unless you are very unlucky, tomorrow's post will not be about moths.

So what's the news? From Wanstead, well, nothing really. I am sad to have to report that the second pair of Great Crested Grebes have also failed. Hero to zero. As far as I can remember, this is the first year that Great Crested Grebes have attempted nesting. We had high hopes, especially for the particularly enthusiatic first pair, and then couldn't believe our luck when a second pair constructed a nest on the same pond. To have both fail within a week of each other is rather gutting. Still, it will allow Mrs Grebe to get on with what she enjoys most.

On the other hand, and on a different pond, last year's solitary male Reed Warbler this year attracted a mate, and baby Reed Warblers are the happy result. When I arrived here, a mere glimpse of a Reed Warbler was an event that only took place in my dreams, so to have successful breeding is a massive result.

I have to more 'results' to share with you, ones I am quite excited about. The first is that I am finally getting paid to wander about and watch birds. I suppose I knew that there was always a possibility, but to have it actually happen is rather amazing, not least to me. It's only a small bit of survey work, but to get paid real money for knowing what Wrens and Blackbirds sound like is extremely gratifying, even if it does mean getting up at 3am. Now if only somebody would pay me for going round Wanstead at first light in June....

The second 'result' is even more unbelievable than the first. Somehow, as a result of this very blog and my column in Birdwatch Magazine, I have been invited to the Wetland Centre to make some kind of film with Simon King and a few other people. I really have very little idea of what it entails, other than that it's about birding, but I am not fussy. I think I would like to be Simon King. In fact I think many people would. And whilst I don't go to the birdfair at Rutland every year with the specific aim of stalking him like some people do, to get to meet him will be a real privilege. A certain Norfolk-based blogess would be well jealous I suspect. He's a proper wildlife guy, the whole shebang. Great on camera, but also great behind a camera - he has all bases covered. Should I offer to carry all his camera gear for him wherever he goes, or would that be too fawning? What do you reckon? I'm just kidding of course, I have the school run to do, but it will make for an interesting day, that's for sure. Who knew that writing a bit of nonsense in weboland could open such doors?

Which reminds me, and I may have forgotten to mention it last year, but I met Bill Oddie. No, really. And the head of the RSPB. These are now the circles I mix in, ahem. Yup, me, Bill and Mike, we're running the show. Well maybe not Bill, but definitely me and Mike. Or maybe that's just Mike, and not me at all, in any way, shape, or form. Anyway, it doesn't matter. What matters is that I've got Lee Evans' phone number, and he's got mine. Oh, wait....


  1. Jesus, you'll be hosting Springwatch next...

    Horse racing photography is still on the cards at some pojnt, too. Pity you were away when the Derby was on.

  2. Jesus indeed

    Popular birding has reached its nadir.

    If only.