Tuesday, 24 June 2014

What is that? Oh bugger.....

A busy weekend just gone, with no birding to speak of, a minor amount of drinking, and a lot of children. Of most interest was a rather flappy bird watched rather distantly from the kids cricket match as it crossed low over the Basin or thereabouts. Highly black and white-looking, and my mind cycled lazily through Magpie, and when some orange appeared to show, Jay, before kicking in with a massive "oh fuck" and desperately trying to get my sunglasses off and my bins up. I just about managed to before the bird disappeared behind trees, but the overwhelming impression was of course, and most unfortunately, Hoopoe. Big floppy stripey black-and white wings, orange at the front, but the view was perhaps slightly less than fleeting as I had not been quick enough. I left the children unattended and zipped over to the south of the Basin where you can creep along the edge of the Golf Course (where the bird had been headed), but bar a family party of Magpies there was no sign of anything other than golfers. Hmmm. I noted a pair of Gypos with three quite large goslings, which Wanstead Birders had hitherto been unaware of, but sadly no stonking southern European vagrants. I could not linger and returned to the cricket, which continued for another three hours or so. And whilst I alerted a few locals, the Golf Course is of course private land....

Once the cricket was over we went home, had a lickety-split lunch, and then headed out to a couple of birthday parties, one in Wanstead, one in Romford. Once done celebrating those, we returned home and I made dinner, and finally, at around 9.30pm, I was free to go and look for the bird. Which, naturally, I didn't. Nor did I manage to awaken early this morning and run amok at the Golf Club, so as far this bird goes, the record is highly unsatisfactory. I am still deciding if I have enough to submit a description, but so far I have been unable to come to any firm conclusion - given the brevity of the view is has to be seen as tenuous. If a Hoopoe is seen anywhere else in the near vicinity, maybe I'll come down on the side of "yay!", but I doubt it. Shame, as per the historic record, the only Hoopoe dates from April 1976 - in the Park and..... on the bloody Golf Course. FFS.

So, a bummer, but not the end of the world. As regular readers may have noticed, birding has been slightly less of a focus of late. Partly this is because it is June, but also it's because I've gone off the boil, realising that there are plenty of other great things to do and that time seems more limited than ever. When autumn kicks in I'll likely pick up the mantle again, and with any luck work may have calmed down - it is particularly and unpleasantly manic at the moment, and my current preferred escape activity is literally that - escape. Escape London and the south-east and go somewhere completely different and far less crowded. Ok so HK and Barcelona don't really tick the 'splendid isolation' box, but Norway did, and Iceland and Sweden which are coming up ought to as well. By the time they come around I should be about 8 weeks behind on the blog, rather than a mere month as I am now. Have a Killdeer from May 27th.

Been one of these on Iceland recently....

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