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...|