Sunday, 7 September 2014

More patch Whinchats

The perfect number of Whinchats to have on the patch is one. A Whinchat, rather than Whinchats. One Whinchat is often fairly cocky, quite brazen sometimes. Several Whinchats stir themselves up into a apoplexy of intense fear, feeding off each other, and thus whilst it might be pleasing to the urban patch-worker that there are multiples of this smart little bird - and indeed I was pleased, for as many as six graced Wanstead Flats this morning - for the urban patch-worker who carries a camera with the intention of committing Whinchats into a pleasing series of zeroes and ones, any more than one is a complete disaster, as the moment one sees you even a hundred paces away, all of them fuck off into the middle distance.

Thus were two hours wasted this morning in a pleasant if frustrating attempt to outsmart these little corkers. It didn't work, or at least not very well. Six soon turned into two that I managed to follow around reliably, but they had been very well trained in how to look out for each other, to the point that I wondered if they had known each other before meeting on Wanstead Flats. They appeared at times to share a single mind, disappearing with perfect synchronisation, popping up again exquisitely. It would make a fine Olympic sport in a parallel universe. Here's the best of what I managed before I gave up and went to Suffolk to dip a Wryneck and successfully twitch a Lesser Grey Shrike - this latter also kept an impressive distance between it and the assembled watchers. Maybe it had just eaten a Whinchat?

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