Sunday, 28 September 2014

London Nightjar, a Patch Tick, and a 'Fun' Run

New 'filtered' through today of a day-roosting Nightjar just down the road from me at the Middlesex Filter Beds. A local birder had spotted it whilst out  jogging, and it had subsequently attracted quite a crowd of London birders, some of whom needed it for their all-important London lists. I didn't, having seen breeding birds in the Surrey sector last year, but I went anyway as I've never seen more than a silhouette at dusk. I've long hoped to come across a day-roosting bird, but I don't really bird the right habitat for that ever to be a possibility. 

The bird was roosting in more-or-less plain view. Naturally it had chosen the exact spot where a clear photo was impossible, but I gave it a go anyway (as did Shaun, even though it clearly wasn't a Gull). A real treat for loads of local birders.

In other news I've birded the patch both yesterday and today, and come away with a full-fat patch tick in the shape of a Woodlark thanks to a timely text from Nick who had discovered it zipping round the grassy area of the Flats calling its head off. I hastened down there to find it still doing exactly that, though unfortunately those less quick off the mark were not as lucky. And then this morning I had the inspired idea to check the Park for a pair of Wigeon that were no longer on the Flats. I know, genius. And of course there they were. They take me to the astonishing total of 97 for the year, which is so piss poor I cannot even begin to tell you. Next year I promise I will make more of an effort.

And finally, hot off the press, I have just survived a fun-run. The other day I lost a huge number of BPs by driving off to Norfolk with both sets of car keys in my pocket. My rescue mission to Belgium with the second set of car keys is apparently long-forgotten, and as penance I was forced into a participating in a family fun-run in aid of Make Poverty History. I am, as you might imagine, an unexceptional runner, and the concept of the words fun and run in the same breath is entirely foreign to me. Nonetheless I whacked on a pair of trainers and set off the Park to meet the family, who were ahead of me due to the need to twitch the Nightjar. I made it to the start and picked up my number just as everyone all set off. Mrs L and the eldest set off together, and middle child went with a friend. Needless to say I didn't see them again until the finish. This left me with my youngest, now aged seven. She is not built for running, with very short legs at this point in her life, so we took it nice and slow - frankly this worked for me. How slow? Well, 5km in 45 minutes is how slow. Whereas young Master L finished in 29 minutes, Mrs L in 31, with Pie and her friend coming in at 38 minutes. So yes, we were last (as in last in our family of five, not last last - gratifyingly there are people out there less fit than I am), and no, it was not fun. But I did it, and I did not complain as much as I expected. And I am still alive, which is obviously a massive bonus, and by no means a guaranteed outcome as far as me running anywhere is concerned. Welcome to the Revolution.

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