Wednesday 15 October 2014

Not Quite Dungeness

Yesterday Dungeness recorded something like 500 Ring Ouzels. They were literally forming carpets of black and white. Other sites on the south coast experienced dramatic falls in the hundreds too, if not quite eclipsing Dunge. It was one of those days that I wished I hadn't been in work. Actually that's most days now I come to think of it, but can you imagine being there? One day. When I'm retired. Though that could be several years away still....

London meanwhile had a handful of Ouzels, literally a dozen Bonxie, and a Gannet. That's good for London that is! I missed all of them, and in a 15 minute escape from the office recorded precisely zero birds of interest in Canary Wharf. A Grey Wagtail was as good as it got. So today as it wasn't raining I resolved to nip out before work, which turned out to be a stunning success, if not quite Dungeness. Almost the first bird I saw was a female Ring Ouzel, flushed out of a bush near the large clump of gorse on the northern Flats. Continuing down towards the southern brooms, a male dashed over. Two Ouzels in about five minutes, complimented by seeping Redwing and a few Linnet. Pretty good, and so I headed for home and the impending school run. However before I could shepherd the children into the car, a call from Bob alerted me to a lingering Short-eared Owl, so I ran outside again. As in literally ran. From my house to about half way to Long Wood. This is all of about 150m, but following my fun run triumph it was a total breeze, and there, in all its distant glory, was said Owl flopping around over Esso Copse. I ran back home, fitness freak that I am.

Once finally on the school run I made a quick stop at the Basin, where I discovered seven Wigeon bobbing up and down. This is a record count, at least for me, and capped off a very successful morning, with both the Owl and the Ouzel being patch year ticks, taking me gloriously to 99. At one stage this year I thought I might not get to three figures. I suppose it's vaguely possible I still might not, but I do still need Snipe and Lapwing. Better that this though, both were actual year ticks as well, so lack-lustre have I been in 2014. The shame associated with disclosing my pitiful year list total is obviously too much to bear, but suffice it to say that it's comfortably my lowest this decade, and the lowest since 2007, when my two-hundred-and-fifteenth and last bird, appropriately enough, was Short-Eared Owl.

One of these can fly over me anytime it likes. If I'm in Wanstead.

1 comment:

  1. I was at Canary Wharf yesterday too. Love being there on such days...