I was pleased to see that it isn't just me who is suffering from a bit of birding lethargy, as Jono seems to be likewise inflicted.

It has crept up on me. I had most probably birded as heavily as I have done for many years over the period of January to April. All of it locally and, bar the odd day, most of it disappointing - maybe that is why my efforts during May have receded and my feelings are ones of deflation. In fact, a two-week break to the Dungeness shingle failed to wake me up from this malaise, and there were times when, even down on the coast, I felt positively jaded. And not just the birding. Plants, moths, you name it, I have approached it all with half-heartedness.

But it is not as simple as suffering from a bout of phasing. I still look up at the Swifts scything overhead and get excited. A field in full flower brings me out in pleasure. I've identified that part of this flatness is the belief that I have to identify and count everything. I've used the word 'have' in that last sentence. 'Have' as in it being a chore. A task. Something to be done against my will.

So why do it...

When I was down at Dungeness I started to make a list of all the plants that I found in flower. After ten minutes I put the notebook away as I just wasn't enjoying it. I didn't want to get the field guide out to put a name to a difficult crucifer. Was the plant before me a Smooth or Hairy Tare? I couldn't care less. Most unlike me. In fact one afternoon, instead of going off birding I went into New Romney to look around the old church. Had there been a rarity found down at the point during my time among the pews then I would have shrugged my shoulders and carried on looking at the memorial plates and grave stones. The bird would have had to wait.

I've been back home for four days and have not even considered going out. It's a great time of year for moths, plants and butterflies. Somehow there is repetition creeping into my natural history world. I may have willingly checked on the Ground Pine and Cut-leaved Germander plants at Fames Rough for the past twenty summers, but I reckon that this year I might give them a miss.

It will all come back again. I just need a break. I have writing and artwork projects on the go, a trip to Crete coming up (and I'm looking forward to a few butterfly ticks). New sites need to be found to explore. Different approaches. The 'same old, same old' just isn't cutting it any longer.


Indeed, been here before, will be here again, not worried at all and very much enjoying other aspects of my life.
Yossarian said…
Enjoy Crete, love it there, the mountain villages and their tavernas especially. I only know west Crete... Kissamos, Chania down to Plakias, Samaria Gorge that sort of thing. Outstanding.
Steve Gale said…
In agreement Jono. Never could understand the relentlessly blinkered birder.
Steve Gale said…
Going north-east Adam. Butterflies and tavernas. Looking forward to it.
John said…
There may even still be flowers to see in Crete Steve, they have had such a wet and cold spring! Great place to enjoy wildlife, still unspoilt in many places! Just avoid the goats.
Factor said…
Can’t say I am surprised Steve. It is because you are normal! You have put so much time and effort into your natural history interest and into this blog a bit of burn-out is inevitable. I’d take some time away and just follow where you mind takes you. Like you say, it is the two words ‘have to’ that become a straight jacket. I had a great time birding in the local area Annie and I were staying in Mallorca but it was the new surroundings that made it fun - and some great birds. But I find nowadays other stuff takes up my spare time just as much -there’s nothing to feel dismayed about as it is my life and I will spend it how I want! Same goes for you.
Steve Gale said…
I’m looking forward to it John. By the way, I spent an enjoyable morning on Park Downs yesterday. Not many Bee and Pyramidal Orchids though.
Steve Gale said…
Thanks for your kind words Neil. I’ll be back!
John said…
They are coming! The Pyramidals are thin-stemmed however, victims of the dry spring I suspect.

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