Saturday 31 August 2013

Back on the patch

The jokes were all predictable. Bob introducing himself, Tony asking what plane I'd taken to get to the Flats.... Ok, so it's been a while since I showed my face. Work is mostly to blame, as well my seemingly insatiable appetite for travel. Unbeknownst to them though, I'd actually been out on the patch twice during the week, and possibly even a couple times the previous week. I've just been keeping quiet about it is all. Ahem. This time of year is so good you can't keep me away, and it's been typically productive.

I've seen a Pied Flycatcher, briefly and badly, quite a few Spotted Flycatchers, a Tree Pipit (this morning), and several Wheatears. There seem to be more Garden Warblers and Lesser Whitethroats, but for me the real draw has been the Whinchats, and we've had a maximum of five on the Flats, most of them hanging around the broom fields. They're always tricky to get close to, but I managed a couple that came out reasonably well - for those that think this might be excessively modest, you can always do better.

It wasn't long though before it became too busy. A semi-nude man pretending to sunbathe in the long grass, dog walkers everywhere, football, a music festival of some kind. I thought back to Loop Head in County Clare, and realised how lucky they have it there. Occasionally London is OK, and you get a bit of peace and quiet, but the vast majority of the time there are just too many people here to make birding the pleasant experience that it ought to be. Hey ho, I'll stick it out for now, and while there are Wheatears....

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