Sunday 1 September 2013

September on the Patch.... so far very similar to August. In fact it involves most of the same birds, including all of yesterday's Whinchats and possibly an extra one for good measure. A couple of Redstart still knocking around as well, but quality was provided by a Green Sandpiper heading west across the Flats. I was chasing the aforementioned Whinchats around the Broom Fields, and had got within the requisite 40m before they all took flight again, when I heard a wader call, high and piercing. Looking around desperately yielded nothing, but it called again twice whilst remaining invisible. I was texting out the news of wader goodness when a text from Nick came through. I had thought he was at Long Wood, but in fact he was somewhere over towards the Alex, and had had a Green Sand over calling. He hadn't seen it either, but no matter, mystery solved, and checking my phone confirmed that the high call notes were indeed the species I had been wondering about. Happy days.

This was as close as I came, which with 1120mm of focal length tells you all you need to know.
This proved the only high note of the morning, the Whinchats were completely impossible, and a brief glimpse of a Redstart diving between cover had me scuttling home - there is only so long I want to schlep a big lens around for without actually doing anything with it. So instead I have devoted the rest of the day to sorting out my greenhouse, which before birding took over my life was a mainstay of my OCD. The scene inside was of major devastation. Even though the plants I like are mostly from arid zones, there is only so much that even they can take, and I have unfortunately managed to kill loads of them. Mainly these were seedling plants, the ones that really needed tender loving care, whereas the larger plants have more in reserve and can last longer. I am a fool. So, a massive cleaning exercise, lots of disposing of dead plants, lots of tipping soil away, and a back-breaking trip to the dump to dispose of the lot. But it looks great now! Whilst I was having my sort out, I also swept and scrubbed the floor, and scrubbed the walls (yes, my greenhouse has walls....) and the dirty bits of the frame. I've got rid of all the mould, sprayed away many of the bugs, and basically done what I ought to have done about five months ago. It almost looks pristine, and I've resolved to enjoy it again.

This Green Woodpecker landed vaguely near Bob and I whilst we were discussing which waders we hadn't seen on the patch.

The feeling of satisfaction, although tinged with sadness at the loss of rare plants, is hard to beat. It has been on successive to-do lists for absolutely ages and ages. Why I decided to start it in September, when the whole of June had been available I have no idea, call it stupidity, but it is done. I actually started last night, and in total the job has taken somewhere between seven and eight hours of non-stop work. Mostly lows when confronted with yet another death, but a huge high when with no small amount of pleasure I also discovered two bottles of Scotch down there, a reminder of a time when I wasn't just processing photos and blogging all the time. Back then I thought nothing of actually sitting down and doing very little in my special greenhouse chair, sometimes even falling asleep in the muggy warmth whilst the fans whirred and the foliage rustled. I always kept a wee something down there for precisely those times, and although covered in cobwebs and muck, liquid remained within. The label on one had been completely eaten away by snails, but I recall that if was The Glenlivet. The other is obviously a Glenfiddich, though in a brown bottle rather than green, whatever that means, as the snails and slugs have had the crucial information. Naturally I checked that both were fine, a quick swig from each one, and am pleased to confirm that several years of neglect, sub-zero temperatures and then high thirties, seem to have had no impact on their sipping qualities, so I may take a glass down there. I've just fumigated it, done a final sweep up, a final bit of house-keeping, and all is good. Time to start buying plants again I guess.....

1 comment:

  1. When poking around your blog I remember noticing you used to grow one of my favorite types of plants. I did not grow any of them, but used to grow nepenthes and other carnivorous plants; however they died and/or I gave them away when we had our first baby. Some day when my children are a little older and the salt mines not quite so demanding (???never?) I'll grow some more.

    I would like to see plant photos of yours!