Sunday 5 July 2015


A brief summary of the last month would be:

- a quick trip to Poland to find Nutcracker
- geting camera fixed after trip to Poland.....
desperate processing of USA photos
- doing not a lot at home
- working like a dog (a sad constant)
- in connection with the above, being uncomfortably hot on the tube
- birding

I did the trip to Poland about a month ago now, but I've since been extremely busy doing not much at all - a life dominated by work, cricket, and chilling out at home. Also my camera finally died out in Poland, and whilst I've got a couple of backups, neither of them sing to me quite like my beloved (and extremely knackered) main body. So I found myself simply not taking any photos which is rather silly. Then again it has mostly been June, and as any fule kno, June is always spectacularly rubbish on the bird front. There has been a lot going on with insects, mainly organised by Tim as part of Wanstead's BioBlitz, which has rekindled my interest in all things moths. Plants also featured, but there the limit of what my brain will absorb was reached, and I am not able to tell you anything about that unfortunately. There are plants in Wanstead, quite a few it transpires. I could have told you that from the satellite map, so not sure what we have gained there.

The birding has been dull of course, and whilst I did manage to sneak out for the long-staying Hudsonian Whimbrel, I timed my visit rather poorly and missed yet another Terek Sandpiper that obligingly turned up the following day for Whimbrel twitchers including filthy Shaun. Hopefully, with various waders beginning to trickle past, things are picking up and there will be some local interest soon. I am ready.

Poland was an eye-opener, and a quick write-up is on the way. Wonderfully beautiful habitat stuffed full of Corncrakes and other good things, an inexplicable lack of raptors, residential buildings going up at the rate of one every fifteen seconds, thousands of people out for a stroll, and some of the most dreadful food I have ever had the misfortune to have grace my plate. The Nutcrackers were present and correct, but not as obliging as I had hoped and possibly not worth a 20km hike up a mountain from a photographic perspective. Especially not with a broken camera - hindsight is a wonderful thing.... Despite its age the economics pointed to a fix, and the fab folk at Fixation in London had the estimate to me under two hours after dropping it off, and had it back to me in under 24 hours. Slightly eye-watering, but averaged across the years it's bearable, and I've got what from some angles looks like a brand new camera. Crucially it now has a new shutter which was the source of most of the ruined images, operator stupidity of course being responsible for the rest. They wouldn't tell me how many I had put through the original but said it was comfortably over 200k. And because a fair portion of the outside of it has also been replaced, all the dents, scratches, bare metal and the weirdly crushed and depressed flash hot-shoe are now all gone. All I can say in my defence is that cameras are for using in the field come what may, and cotton wool doesn't come into it. I'm looking forward to many more trips with my rejuvenated trusty brick.

I've also finally finished my Washington write-up. Even if you don't like birds or America, please go and read it as so far the stats don't reflect quite the effort that has gone into it. Day 6 has a mere 38 clicks yet includes a shadow of Snuffi. It could be that people have been flummoxed, as I have, by the disappearance of the URL following me being too slack to renew the domain name and instead being directed to a page where they could buy from underneath my very nose. Would that I had sorted it out before it expired as whilst there hasn't exactly been a rush to blackmail me into buying back my own url, getting it all working again properly has been a form of modern day torture. No idea how long it has been dead for, but possibly since the last week of June. The good news is that my feeble brain finally worked out what needed to happen and the site is back up. I can hear the collective sigh of relief from here......

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