Friday 27 January 2017


The fog barely lifted on Wednesday, it was the very definition of gloomy. I went out in the morning anyway, it is good contemplative time and I enjoy it whatever the weather. Apart from rain of course. I took a camera but didn’t even get it out of my bag as there was no point. The photo below was from earlier in the week when you could actually make out trees. So if you saw a guy in a red hat wandering purposefully around Wanstead Flats on Wednesday morning when there was evidently no purpose at all given the close-to-zero visibility, that was me.

I was listening of course, that’s what proper birders do. In fact I didn’t even have optics with me, I have risen above that low level of birding. Optics are for the weak, I and many other real birders scorn them. If you don’t instinctively know what is in front of you then you might as well get another hobby. Sorry, that was an alternative fact. It is true that I didn’t have any bins though, as I took one look out of the window in the morning and realised they would be dead weight. Why I still took my camera defies any reasonable explanation other than idiocy as I knew I had no time during the day either.

Needless to say I heard nothing definitive. At one stage I thought I heard the call of an Oystercatcher somewhere overhead in the murk, but it was only the once and I cannot be totally certain it wasn’t a funny Parakeet. I’m off to Scotland shortly where Oystercatchers abound, so I will tune up so to speak. Too late for this one though, a shame. My only other record was also on a very foggy day, but that was multiple calls and left me in no doubt. Interestingly enough the two birds I heard most frequently were Greenfinch and Dunnock, both of which were almost impossible to find at the beginning of the year. Given the weather is far colder than three weeks ago and a lot less conducive to breeding, I am at a loss to understand why they now feel the need to sing, and in the case of the Greenfinches, embark on their skewy display flights. No doubt some bright spark will tell me.

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