I spy...


The picture above was taken yesterday morning by Mark Davis, looking northwards from the parapet of Leith Hill Tower. It is an arresting image. In the middle ground is Box Hill, and you can clearly make out the viewpoint where a combination of the feet of thousands of visitors, and the driest May on record, have worn down the grass to a pale creamy buff. The wooded ridge behind that, all smoky blue and mysterious, is where the bulk of the 2017-18 Hawfinch irruption took up temporary residence. And looming up in the distance is the London skyline, one that, even ten years ago, would have looked very different. The tallest, needle-like structure on the right-hand side is The Shard. It is 26.5 miles - as the Hawfinch flies - from Leith Hill Tower. And beyond the structures of London you can make out the Chilterns as they run through Hertfordshire. If you do not know the area you could be forgiven for thinking that those of us who live on the capital’s fringes are looked down upon by a thousand Sauron’s eyes. The lens has foreshortened the distances somewhat, seemingly shoving the city upon the folds of the North Downs as if it is rearing above them in an oppressive and threatening manner. Very Bladerunner.

Let’s go back to Box Hill. If you blow up the image, and check the green slope below, and to the left, of the viewpoint, you might just make out a lone standing figure. It is a figure with a telescope on a tripod, rucksack on the ground, intently vis-migging. It is me, six miles from Leith Hill, a detail of which appears below. Mark, together with Wes Attridge, were also sky-watching. We were updating each other via the Surrey Vis-mig What’sApp account so were aware of each other’s presence. When there are few birds to keep tabs on, there are always the other birders...

Thanks to Mark for kindly allowing me to use his photographs in this post.

Comments

martinf said…
That's a great photo and interesting to get the context of the geography.
Gibster said…
Looking good buddy, nice tan! :)

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