Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Horrid autumn- 3/10/17

A short while after coming back from Sussex I gave up owning a car, and took to the pushbike, or walked. Actually, I gave up owning a 4x4 truck, the beast had been brilliant offroad over the farmland in the Brede Valley, but was a bit too OTT for the Rainham estates.

It wasn't all about saving the world, it was about saving money. Besides, from time to time I could borrow a car, so I wasn't that green to turn down the chance. Because, like every dear reader, I'm dying. Very slowly, since my twenties, just like you.

Back then I believed 'coughs and sneezes spread diseases' and didn't really appreciate what disease is; a disorder of structure or disfunction in the body. We bring some upon ourselves (if you don't know what 'The Western disease' is, look it up. I'm busy putting lots of people off Maccy D and the likes nowadays) others happen when we think our slowly reducing muscle mass can still operate as well as 30 years ago, and then things just pop out.. We're all diseased, we're all going to fall apart. Get out and bird now. Retirement won't be what you think for a lot of you. Long and the short of it, I'm walking with a stick until I have an operation to sort out some worn parts.

So, choosing Horrid seemed like a good idea for days when I could borrow transport. A tad worse on other days, which could find me walking in, then diverting to Twydall for a lift back at least. Some mornings, to get to Horrid for Dawn, I just had to grit my teeth for an hour's limp.

You can always tell the days I walk. There's a bloomin' big BHG number in the notebook. Today? 5,220 Black-headed Gulls, south to the Downs in the half-hour it took to walk the edge of the Park. These are counts that can be really messy, but more fun watching for odd behaviour- sometimes not many leaving that early (they know when the ground is frozen, covered), or big numbers arriving early (no guess, sometimes perhaps a movement, sometimes just really good early feeding or a lot of disturbance down on the farms?

I was really tempted by a tired Woodpigeon as I arrived at Horrid, one I could have picked up and stroked; migration? A man can dream.. (Answer- no. Just, well, no.)

So, what was there?

Viz mig: Brent Goose 47 (+89 offshore), Peregrine 2, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Sandwich Tern 13, Common Tern, Swallow 4, Sand Martin 2, Skylark 8, Meadow Pipit 104, Pied Wagtail 2, Lesser Redpoll, Linnet 27, Chaffinch 2, Goldfinch 2.

Point: Chiffchaff 4, Linnet 14, Reed Bunting 2.

Watched the Curlews for a bit. Last few days, flightline to roost were settled (red). Today? West basin birds behaving, but eastern lot having none of it around Friars (yellow). Gave it a wide berth and instead formed two large groups over on Oakham. Haven't heard anything of late on the ongoing ownership questions. WAGBI, Wildfowlers Association of GB and Ireland, long-term loaned it to the CEGB, Central Electricity Generating Board. Both gone through name changes, affiliations, both present regenerations having trouble locating their copies of the paperwork.

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