Sunday, 10 July 2011


I am calm. Om. I have exorcised the listing demons. Om. This does not mean that I have had a tick, I have not. I did not go to Derbyshire. Om. Too far, too boring. Om. Instead I missed two Green Sandpipers in Wanstead, and found two Common Sandpipers in Wanstead. Om. Bonelli's Warbler eat your heart out. I care not. I weighed it up I admit, but ultimately it was just too far. Four hundred miles, sixty quid, and seven hours in a car. Thanks but no thanks.

If only I'd got up that little bit earlier. I was awake and drinking tea when Stuart found the first Green Sandpiper on Jubilee, blissfully unaware. When I heard the news I was straight out, but it had gone. As I was walking towards Jubilee to dip it, the guys texted me about another Green Sandpiper that had just flown over Alexandra Lake. Fortune vomits on my eiderdown once more, as someone once said. I hastened there, but was too late once again. A Common Sandpiper tried to cheer me up, and didn't do a bad job actually, spiralling so high above the lake that it went above the Swifts, themselves high up, and disappeared into outer space to rendezvous with the Shuttle. Later in the Park, drinking a reflective cup of coffee from the Tea Hut of Happiness, I spied another two at the end of Heronry, so somewhat of a landmark day. There is clearly some wader passage occuring. If I can drag my sorry ass out of bed early enough, hopefully I can cash in. Mind you, I tried that on Thursday, up and out at 4:45am and saw diddly squat.

The day, predictably, turned to insects. Butterflies were out in force. Small Skipper, Essex Skipper, Peacock, Red Admiral, Gatekeeper, Small Copper, Meadow Brown, Speckled Wood, Large White, Small White, Green-veined White, and best of all, Marbled White. There you go, a list of butterflies that I saw. Blogging is great.

Not just butterflies though, insects galore. Cinnabar caterpillars on almost every clumps of Ragwort, as well as about twelve billion Soldier Beetles, possibly more. I had more fun than I thought possible with a macro lens, there were subjects everywhere. For the technophobes amongst you, my latest toy is Canon's 100mm macro lens with image stabilisation, and I have to say it works a treat. No tripod, no mucking about, just wash and go. Or something. Makes a great portrait lens too, which is a bit of a problem actually as I find myself using it more than my actual portrait lens as it's already on the camera most of time. Tack sharp, light, and fun. Doesn't take the extenders unfortunately, so I still break out the 180mm macro quite a lot for the extra magnification and working distance it allows, but this newer lens is definitely easier to use. I should be a salesman. Or a sleep consultant.

Solider Beetle. Clearly German.


  1. its the hours in the car thats the killer! 7 hours! feck! thats a long spin! Imagine getting 7 hours on the patch! How cool would that be? Well, as you know, it would probly be 5 hours too much, especially at this time of year but still, when I'm swithering about going for distant (or even semi-distant) rares I usually break it down into how much car time there'll be. Mind you, that still doesn't explain why I never went for the Philadelphia Vireo in Clare, when I had the chance! Twat!

  2. Good man - stay steady. The weekend it was found I was in Manchester visiting the in-laws with the family, about a 20 minute drive away. Plans for the day meant I had to drive home without a detour. Ommmmm!