Monday 28 January 2019

Putting pen to paper, minor birding and some music

You have probably already gathered that I am finding blogging no easier in 2019. I very nearly wound the whole thing up on the 6th January actually, the post was set to auto-publish, but after New Year I had a sudden change of heart. I'm not convinced I made the right decision. 

Anyhow, I did nip out on Saturday to enjoy a short amount of birding while one of the kids did Park Run. It was mildly successful given the 30 minute timeframe - a Skylark over the brooms, and the pair of Stonechat that eluded me on my first outing were knocking about near Capel Road. This puts me on 63 for the year but in all honesty I have not been trying very hard - plenty of other things have been diverting my attention. 

Big Garden Birdwatch for starters, which unsurprisingly was dominated by sodding Parakeets, although not the largest number I have ever had. Feeders without protection go down at the rate of about 3 inches a day. As with all of these events I've recorded over the years, none of the good stuff turned up. Coal Tit for example, and Jackdaw, both of which are otherwise regular. I did get a House Sparrow though which rarely happens. Because I've not really gone out anywhere I've spent more time than usual watching the garden. Nothing particularly exciting, but I have noticed a subtle change in bird behaviour as from about a fortnight ago. Blackbirds for instance suddenly appeared and started chasing each other around the place. This week the changes have been led by the local Dunnocks, many of which have started singing. It may not feel like it, with snow last week and more forecast, but it's a reminder that ornithological spring has started. It's even possible that the first northbound Wheatears are setting off.....

I'm getting ahead of myself. We still have a difficult month of no birds ahead of us. Luckily I have been so slack that there are still things to find before it gets interesting again. Now where did I leave that Fieldfare?

As an aside, I have been listening to the following song a lot. Love Knopfler and his lack of ego, could watch him effortlessly play guitar for hours, and his partner on this track is Ruth Moody from the Wailin' Jennys. I discovered it randomly at the weekend via a random "play Mark Knopfler" command to She Who Must Not Be Named, somehow I missed the album completely. What a lovely voice she has, it has been on repeat. Today I watched the video. Birders take note....


  1. Two points - firstly please don't ever consider closing down this blog and secondly, please don't ever try to make we sane folk listen to Mark Knobbler. I'd rather be eaten alive by parakeets than that.

  2. Hi Jonathan,
    I discovered your blog fairly recently (thanks to that bittern post). I’ve read quite a bit of it and enjoyed it thoroughly, so I’d be a bit disappointed if you decided to quit now! Good blogs aren’t that easy to find. Of course, I’ve meant to comment before now and to thank you for all the time and hard work you put into your writing, and to tell you how entertaining I find it, so just in case you do quit, at least I can now say that I’ve done that. Nothing lasts for ever, people evolve, their interests change and they move on. If it’s not fun anymore, then it’s time to call it a day. But just in case you are looking for encouragement and a reason to keep writing then there’s at least one person out there in the void who regrets not interacting more and who hopes you carry on.

    P.S. I’m a Brit living in the US so I particularly like reading about all the British birds that I miss. It’s -25C here tonight going to drop down to -35 in the next couple of days and my patch list for this year stands at a whopping 17.

    1. Hello Gillian, thanks for that - I do wish more people would interact but I suspect I am living in fantasyland. Thanks also sharing the pitiful state of your yearlist - Schadenfreude is one of the most powerful of all concepts!

  3. I didn't really pay attention to the lyrics, but the almost monochrome video featuring a lot of Dungeness scenery and a glum young man did rather convey a melancholic mood. No wonder you've been thinking about un-blogging. Can I suggest a steady diet of anything in a major key?

    Mind you, the constant pillaging of your expensively-stocked feeders by the wholly undeserving is a bit of a metaphor for life. So, best not to dwell on that either...

    The advice of a serial blog-deleter is simply this: don't.


    1. My 'closing' post did mention non-deletion as it happens. In the context of narcissism mostly....

  4. Either more gin or ----- less gin!