Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Getting one's arse spanked

No, the title of this post is not a desperate attempt to lure more traffic into visiting this blog, as I no longer have a statcounter or a flagged-up map of the world to look at. It is reference to my recent lack of finding any half-decent birds locally, even though I am trying, and mainly refers to a whole stream of local birders filling their boots (including a frighteningly focused 16 year old). Even those local species deemed 'good' birds (such as Common Redstart) have firmly kept out of my notebook. But they have entered everyone elses.

One reason for my failure is good old honest toil. It's no use me turning up at the local farm and keeping ornithologically focused for only half-an-hour before losing my concentration to an unhealthy train of thought involving Sarah Beeny and Nigella Lawson. The other failing is stopping to look at plants. The Wryneck may have hopped out onto the path in front of me while I'm trying to decide if the plant before me is Fragrant Agrimony or just plain Common Agrimony. Skill does, of course, play a part. Where as I was once confident of nailing that Tawny Pipit as it flew over calling, now...I'm not so sure. So, years of experience will save the day then - after birding for 35 years I can survey any patch of land before me and confidently tell where the pipits will be lurking, the rare bunting feeding and the phylloscs gathering - er, no. My birding radar seems to be in need of re-setting if I'm honest.

So, to sum up. I've found nothing, tried not terribly hard and have been shown up by a 16 year old birder who has more stamina, will and determination than I could rustle up in a month of birding Fair Isle with a gentle south-easterly and a Siberian Rubythroat hopping at my feet holding up a neon sign introducing itself.

At least I'm in no doubt as to my current status in the world of birding...

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