Tuesday 3 September 2013

Banging (them in), Hanging (in there)

I'm still just about clinging on to my Wanstead year-listing ambitions. The need to be at work at the exact time that passerines start to become active is a constant bore, with the possibility of people finding birds when I'm in crowded train carriages or negotiating busy platforms an almost constant problem. Sometimes I get lucky though and today was one of those days. Failing yet again to haul my ass out of bed at a sensible time, due in no small part to the inevitable conclusion that I would see nothing at all before I departed the patch, only for all the birds to come out and show superbly whilst I was on the way to work, I missed a patch Nightingale. This bird had been suspected the previous day, but Nick had made sure to be there early doors, and had been greeted by the sight of it perched up and having a morning preen. When I got there it had naturally dived into cover, and two untickable flight-views later I was on the bus, which is where I learned about the Wryneck that was also in the Brooms. Piss. Still, our third in four years - what a patch!

But this story has a happy ending. Leaving work sometime after seven, I received news that the Nightingale was in its original spot and sub-singing. A quick diversion from my normal route home, and it wasn't long before I was nearing the viz-mig point, where Bob, Dan and Stu were apparently seeking safety in numbers and listening out for the bird. As luck would have it, my timing was impeccable, as approaching the large patch of broom the bird was rumoured to be in, the briefest snatch of sub-song emerged. For the record, it went duh-duh-duh-duh in that way that only Nightingales can do. But was it the bird, or was it an iPhone?! Happily it wasn't the guys, and so on to the list it goes. A short while later the bird broke cover briefly and flew to the next patch of broom, allowing short views that without the heard bit would probably still have been insufficient, but frankly were one coincidence too many. In any event, Nick has some photos from this morning, which hopefully when on the big screen will show it in all its glory.

The last few days I have been properly banging them in, as in addition to being a full fat patch tick, this takes me to the Nelson, 111, which is a major milestone as it is essentially my average patchlist over the last three years, and thus my 100% for the Patch List Challenge. It is also just two away from my record of 113, achieved in both of the last two years, and given I'm still missing resident Tawny Owl and Bullfinch, I've got a good feeling. Plenty of other possibilities as well, Med Gull, YL Gull, Brambling, and who knows what other winter birds. The record could be on. I'm miles behind Nick, currently on 118, but I'm definitely hanging in there.

Ringo from Ireland, nothing whatsoever to do with this post.

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