Monday, 17 August 2020
Sometimes, birding locally can get to you. Today is such a day. It is a given that my bit of dry, northern Surrey is not going to measure up against Spurn or Dungeness (or Beddington or Holmethorpe for that matter), but when every other London park and Surrey heath is recording multiples of Pied Flycatcher - and I'm not - it starts to get personal.
The last five days has seen me visit Canons Farm, working all the copses, hedge-lines and weedy field corners. The last five days has seen low numbers of migrants. A few passing Chiffchaffs, a flock of four (and a one) Whinchat, a Stonechat, a single Willow Warbler, that's about it. I strongly suspect that all of the Whitethroats and Blackcaps are locally-bred loafers. My effort has been full on, my patience freely given. But each day I've left the farm with a sense of knowing that, even if I had stayed out in the field for an extra hour or two, nothing would have happened. Sometimes it goes like that.
After a barren three hours at the farm this morning I cut my losses to go and take a look at Ian Kehl's Wood Sandpiper at Holmethorpe (it was kind of Gordon to let him find it!!) My recent semi-twitches to Holmethorpe have been failures, so when an hour had elapsed and the wader had not shown on Spynes Mere, I feared the worst. It then decided to stop teasing me, and appeared on a relatively close island. Poor shot above.
In keeping with my dull mood, Holmethorpe irritates me. On the one hand I've had many happy moments here, but the fencing, high hedges, poor viewing points and the feeling of a reserve that is blowing a raspberry at the visiting birder do not help to make the birding experience an enjoyable one.
All highly unsatisfactory, and when you add to it a week of top migrant moth action, enjoyed by many, that bypassed my garden MV, I feel as if I'm out of the loop, off the pace, treading water and not playing my cards right.