"If you can spend a perfectly useless afternoon in a perfectly useless manner, you have learned how to live."
Lin Yutang (1895 - 1976)
Well, I certainly succeeded in that. I spent the afternoon on Epsom and Walton Downs, an afternoon that was blessed with sunshine, warmth and the lightest of breezes. My main aim was to hunt down the bird migrants that were bound to be present, but as the afternoon wore on it was more than apparent that they were either (a) very good at hiding or (b) not present at all. I could suggest a further reason, that of (c) observer incompetence.
All was not lost however, as I finally stumbled across the Ivy Bee (Colletes hederae) and a small patch of Haresfoot Clover (left). Butterflies were on the wing, the best of the bunch being an immaculate Red Admiral along with several Brown Argus.
The afternoon was slipping by, but in my new found sate of 'being in the now' was able to enjoy the experience of being out in the benign elements, wandering across downland and not having too much to concern those parts of my mind that like nothing better than having something to worry about. And then, as I crossed a horse paddock and started scanning the fence line, a smart Whinchat popped into view. Only a Whinchat maybe, but I felt as if I was being rewarded for my perseverance. All thoughts of Wrynecks and Shrikes were relegated and I spent a happy ten minutes watching this particular chat dancing around the equine habitat.
Back on the open downs I lay down on the grass, used my rucksack as a pillow and closed my eyes, feeling the warm breeze and listening to the twittering of a high Swallow. Who needs Wrynecks? Altogether now, "Ohhhmmmmm..."