Monday, 23 April 2012

Professional Jealousy

"33 Whimbrel flew east over Wanstead Flats"

Today I was working at Canary Wharf. You can probably see where this post is heading. Yup, patch gold and not seen by me. Grrrrr. Still, I enjoyed my spreadsheets. Unless you're the only person working a patch, the likelihood is you will know all about today's scenario. It's not nice. I mean, it's great, long live the patch and all that, but seriously gripping. I'd kill for even one Whimbrel, but 33?!! Highly unfair. Patch-worker competitiveness is alive and well across the land. I actually think there isn't too much of it here in Wanstead, we're a relatively easy-going bunch. I mean, I like gripping people off as much as the next birder, but if I had to categorically state whether I was hugely competitive as regards to my patch list versus everyone else's, I'd have to say that really I wasn't, and that's probably the case for most of us. A few of the guys have an unhealthy obsession with outdoing Wormwood Scrubs in the migrant stakes, but apart from that, there isn't much angst. But with 33 Whimbrel flying east in a lovely V formation whilst I was sat four miles to the south-west seeing only rows and columns, I may have to reevaluate my feelings on patch competitiveness. Gah!

Naturally I was out on the patch this morning, once again seeing very little. The Willow Warblers were still singing - encouraging, and there are now more Whitethroats than before. Nonetheless I am feeling short-changed, and not just by some curvy-billed waders. Sand Martin, House Martin, Lesser Whitethroat, Yellow Wagtail - all continue to elude me, and it has not escaped my notice that this time last year I was nearly 10 species better off. The obvious difference is work I suppose, but this crappy spring has a lot to answer for. I know, moan moan moan. It has also not escaped my notice that I am a total whinge-bag at the moment. What is perhaps most irritating is that I'm trying really hard, there has been no slacking off. Admittedly I did not spend much time on the patch at the weekend, but I had heaps of other things to do, and in this game, timing is unfortunately everything. In some ways it is good that I don't live by the sea - it is one thing to be gripped-off by some regular migrants that I've not seen yet. Imagine being told about a stonking seabird going past that you hadn't seen? When seabirds fly past, that's it, they're gone and they're not coming back. A bit like fly-over waders on urban patches.

Oh.

I might not have seen any migrants this year, but I don't care as I did see this and it was brilliant

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