Monday 17 September 2012

Love the Log

There is a log on Wanstead Flats. In fact there are several. I love the logs, and I love one in particular. No, not the kind of dog-related logs that I rant about very occasionally, real logs. Wooden ones. The log I love is near Centre Road carpark, and is also loved by Air Traffic Control Man. Air Traffic Control Man is one of the regular nutters that roam Wanstead Flats. He appears around 6am, and sits on the log with a scanner and a pair of bins listening to pilot chat. You know, vector one-niner, cleared to approach kind of crap. Tragic. He should get a real hobby, a cool one. Like, err, birding. He's already got bins, and he's already at the log, it would be an easy transition. Plus he wouldn't have to lug the scanner around. Anyway, the log. The wonderful log. I'm getting there. Slowly.

This log, you see, is much favoured by Wheatears. And thus much favoured by me. If there are Wheatears on the Flats, as is very often the case, they will almost inevitably seek out this log and sit on it. Spring, autumn, adults, juveniles, they all go for this log. There are other logs, but they are second choice logs.Sub-standard logs. This log, the highest one, is the preferred log by far. A premier log. All the various Hawthorns and shrubs are higher, but they're not logs, and logs is what discerning Wheatears want. And what Wheatear afficionados want. I'm a Wheatear afficionado. No, really.

It's about three feet off the ground at its highest point, and is kind of hump-backed shaped. It's a photographer's dream, except that there's no cover at all and it's tough to get close to; you just have to hope that the Wheatear is a friendly one. You can get a completely diffuse background, green if you place broom behind, beige if you go for dried grasses. This morning there was a relatively friendly one, and I went for beige. I had been attempting to stalk Whinchats, but they were far smarter than I was, so I ventured over to the log after Nick said there was a Wheatear on it. Maybe that should be The Log. Anyway, sure enough, a Wheatear was still on it. Being on my way to work, I didn't have the lens I really wanted, but a quick addition of a converter and I had a reasonable focal length to work with.

Love the log! I've managed to use the word log 23 times in this post, which I think is a first. I've also managed nine Wheatears, despite there only being one present. This probably isn't a first.

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