Vizmigging is an essential part of watching a local patch. The sky above your patch is always larger than the patch itself, and contains few annoying obstacles for birds to hide in. You get clear uninterrupted lines of sight that stretch for vast distances and can cover a huge area without going anywhere. Nowhere is this truer than in your garden. Were my garden list restricted to birds seen only IN the garden, my house list would be about 20. As it is it is 82, and this is solely as a result of scanning the sky. If you can see or hear a bird from garden, it is as good as in your garden and on the list it goes. Now my garden is quite small, and there are mature trees all around, as well as the pesky houses of neighbours – the lines of sight are much reduced and I am sure that this restricts the numbers of birds that I can hope to get on the house list. Previous shenanigans have included standing on part of a low roof to get a bit of extra height, as well as standing with one foot on the front drive whilst straining with all my sinew to detect the call of a Whitethroat from the patch.
|Night falls on the patch, as seen from west wing top turret...|
Now however a new window of opportunity has opened. Several in fact. We converted the loft at Chateau L, and my visible sky has increased hugely. I can see for miles! I can see over the houses on the other side of the road. I can see over the houses behind. Looking left or right out of the perfectly-positioned-for-skywatching velux windows I can see all the way over Bush Wood and the edge of the Park, and in the other direction I can see the expanse of Wanstead Flats. The view towards Walthamstow has opened up - a known flyway - and I should also be able to detect birds of prey far further away as the corridor that they previously would have had to travel has widened considerably. In fact there is so much sky that I am not sure where I should look. All good omens for some additions to the garden list, which is possibly my favourite list as it has so many unexpected birds on it and also by virtue of the fact that it is, err, right on my doorstep.