Monday, 3 October 2016
Not quite Shetland
While hordes of middle-aged men are in Shetland, wading through beds of Yellow Iris and allowing rare locustella warblers to crawl all over them, some of us are still working at the rock-face of cutting edge field ornithology (mixed metaphors there!). We are plying our ornithological trade by grilling nondescript inland sites, mostly without water - and neither with a track record for rarities - and are trying to defy the law of averages (and our common sense that is screaming at us to "go north old man!") We may be self-deluded, or simple, or happy with our lot (or even all three!!) but the nation can breathe a sigh of relief that we are counting our Dunnocks, Chaffinches and Blackbirds while those who have scarpered off northwards dedicate their time to the so-called 'rares'... they used to be 'rarities' in my time. Just don't say BOOM!...
Epsom and Walton Downs seem to be my places of choice at the moment. Under-watched, with potential, and pleasant places to boot. This morning revealed just a little, but the weather was glorious and it was no hardship having to walk field edges, hedgerows and copses. Bottom line were: 31 Canada Goose, 9 Greyalg Goose, 3 Common Buzzard, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Kestrel, 175 Stock Dove, 7 Skylark, 6 Meadow Pipit, 2 Swallow, 1 House Martin, 3 Stonechat, 1 Wheatear, 2 Redwing, 24 Chiffchaff.
A few butterflies were on the wing, including Small White, Comma, Red Admiral and Small Copper.