The past few days has seen me out in the field a lot, but with little reward. After putting in the hours it can be disheartening when the ornithological return is minimal. It could be pointed out that my venues of choice are hardly inspirational - Epsom and Walton Downs, Banstead Heath and Canons Farm - but there again my expectation levels are hardly set to high. There have been moments of some compensation, with a displaying pair of Lapwings and a light trickle of Meadow Pipits overhead, but it is hardly the stuff of legend. This sort of disappointment isn't just the lot of the inland birder either, as my chums at Dungeness go through exactly the same feelings, although their measure of success and failure is on a far more loftier scale. There was so little to look at on one particular afternoon that I spent a few moments snapping away at this cock Pheasant - I liked the contrast between its gaudy plumage and the dour stubble - this sort of thing happens when you are scratching about trying to winkle out that goody!