Saturday 6 August 2011

Hotting Up or Cooling Off?

August has arrived after an exceptionally dull July. As far as Wanstead is concerned, it is still mostly June, however the first returning Wheatear was seen earlier in the week, which you would think would spur me into action?

So far it has not though. What is wrong? This probably happens every year and I have just forgotten about it, but my desire to bird the patch is at what appears to be an all-time low. I just cannot be bothered, or that's how it feels. I know that as soon as I get out there for several mornings on the trot, all the love will come flooding back and it will be all systems go again, but that first step is exceptionally difficult. I tried last week, managed an hour or so, and since then have sunk back into a stupor. A Wheatear would undoubtedly help, but in order to find one I need to be out there, and I just cannot overcome my front door.

I have not, to be clear, fallen out of love with birding. Absolutely not. But I have fallen out of love with getting up at 5am and seeing only dogs. On my foray last week, I was at Alexandra Lake for about quarter to six in the morning. Waiting for me were a man and a dog around the south side, another man staring at the west side, and a jogger. Somehow I managed to kick up a Snipe, but that's not the point. I want to be out there alone, just me and the habitat, and hopefully, the birds.

 So quit whining and get up earlier, I hear you say. Well yes, but it is difficult. Too difficult. How many of you regularly get up at 4am? If I get up at 4am, that's me done for the day. It is the summer holidays, and lots of coffee notwithstanding, I can't look after the kids properly on that little sleep. I will be shattered, grumpy, and will not give them the care and attention they deserve. Stack that up against the possibility of a Wheatear, and it's a pretty thin argument for birding the patch at the crack of dawn day after day.

Nationally though, it's hotting-up, and when it reaches boiling point, no doubt I will drag myself back onto the patch, and hopefully score heavily. There are good waders everywhere, and last week an evening jaunt to Canvey Island netted a couple of Cattle Egrets, one a full summer adult, and the other, intriguingly, a juvenile. So there are good birds around, and it's just going to get better and better. Incentive enough you might think? Well yes, and if that were not enough for some reason, I am quite close to going back to work (although someone will need to offer me a job first), at which point my local birding options decrease markedly.

Before I go, I have a photographic offering. On the trip to the East Coast last weekend, whilst nursing Bradders' semi-stricken car home with mineral water in lieu of engine coolant, he expressed surprise that a photograph demonstrating the exceptional versatility of said car had not yet been published. I had, I confess, forgotten all about it, but given that car nearly became about as useful (for birding) as a tea-tray, the time is perhaps right. Subaru, taking care of all your beverage needs.

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