Tuesday 22 March 2016

Up with the Lark to Duck out early

It's migrant time and I've resumed birding. Sadly nobody told the migrants, but it was a lovely morning nonetheless, beautiful, crisp and clear. For the first time this year I heard Skylarks singing, at least four birds. A lower number than any previous year, but they're still hanging on. I won't dwell on why exactly the landowner seems powerless to act to protect them, perhaps they're just hoping the problem goes away? This strategy will of course work, I give the birds two years. 2018 and I don't expect we'll have Skylarks on the patch any more, and for that the apathy of those people with the power to actually do something will be as much to blame as those who felt that it was their right to allow their dogs run amok through the rough grass during the breeding season. Sad, but there it is.

As well as the few remaining Larks, a handful of Meadow Pipits performed their parachuting display flights, and a male Reed Bunting flew great tseeping circles. Green Woodpeckers chased each other from east to west as spanking Black-headed Gulls wheeled high overhead. Migrants were totally absent, but who cares when it's as lovely as this out there? I commented at the time that the world was a nice place. Then of course I got to work and had Brussels beamed at me for eight hours.

Anyhow, with apologies to sub-editors everywhere for the cheap title, I left work early to twitch the out-of-place Common Scoter in Rotherhithe. It's currently sat looking a bit confused on an ornamental pond in Southwark Park, and so this not being far from the salt mines of Canary Wharf I nipped out early to give it a go. I don't need Common Scoter for London, but if it was on small pond then potentially the views might be very good indeed. I barely made it before dark, and was not surprised to find Rich B there before me with the same idea. It did show very well at times, and despite the awful light the miracles of modern technology and my incredible biceps mean that 1/60s exposure can bring you this. Lovely.

Then I went back to work. Less lovely, but this is London and it never actually stops. I found my colleagues abusing my desk with balloons and so on - busted - and had to remove two kiwi fruit that had been humourously sellotaped to my monitor before I could send those last critical emails. It was probably worth it, not only to catch them red-handed, but because the Shard was looking very impressive against the rosy sky. The lens turned a few heads, but I explained that whilst not ideal it was all I had and it would have to make do. Ducks and landscapes don't mix, although in this case I actually think it worked pretty well.

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