Friday, 2 January 2015

Slowly, slowly, catchee monkey

I once worked for a magazine editor who used this phrase on a regular basis - it comes from the days of British colonialism in the far east, and has been attributed to the 'pidgin English' spoken by the natives who taught the British soldiers how to catch monkeys (for pets) by the use of patience and stealth. I have a feeling that I am going to have to adopt such tactics for my birding this year... a four hour walk from Colley Hill back to my home in Banstead was notable for the dearth of birds on show. Up to 8 Common Buzzards, 110 Fieldfare and 10 Bullfinches were the highlights in an otherwise deserted stretch of downland, heath and wood. The usual flocks of larks, pipits and finches had gone elsewhere and my 'nailed-on' Marsh Tits were anything but. To use a well-worn cliche, this years study is a marathon and not a sprint, and if I am to compete with a certain Mr. S Sexton of Northumbria then I need to heed such old sayings about how to catch monkeys.

Colley Hill, looking west. I look forward to the stream of storks, cranes and large raptors this coming spring

Same hill, but seen from further east. The Roller will be sitting on the top of those pines this June. Or July. I don't mind which...

6 comments:

  1. Steve, you might also comfort yourself with the realisation that this contest is very much a marathon, not a sprint. Obviously there will be species which can only be found at certain periods during the four seasons - however, I very much doubt if any of your targets are likely to be "one day wonders!"
    I'm really looking forward to reading the two blogs - I'm sure there'll be plenty of emotional ups and downs for you both.
    Happy New Year to you and your family - all the best Dyl

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    1. Happy New Year to you and your family too Dyl. I am looking forward to the next 12 months and see it very much as a return to my roots and a more considered approach to my birding. Any victories will be hard won! Now, you go get those pike...

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  2. Oh man, how many are you on? Water Rail for goodness sake! I turn my back for the first 3 days of 2015 and this is what I find on my return...
    With a good forecast for tomorrow and a quick check of the tide table, I am confident that something of interest may show itself. The target is...mmmm....er....Grey Plover. I bet it ends up like your Marsh Tits and Firecrests....

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    1. Hi Stewart. Happy New Year to you! Yes, Water Rail was a bonus species. I'm on 50, but it will slow down until April I reckon. Still, that gull roost might turn something up...

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  3. Oh yes, :) Happy New Year! Sob....

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  4. Dream on Steve, dream on :) ... Happy New Year to you and yours and I hope you have a great year full of many special birding moments. Jerry

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