13 September 2015

Crippled Birding

Reading all these pager messages & tweets regarding all these delightful migrants cropping up on the coast is killing me. I had been seriously considering coming out of retirement this autumn & starting to bird/twitch further afield until...

Nearly two weeks ago I broke my foot (the fourth metatarsal half way down my fucking foot to be exact). I'd gone downstairs in the dead of night to grab a drink & had completely forgotten that my wife had moved the coffee table and thus ploughed into it with bare feet. It didn't hurt at the time but next day was bleedin' agony so a trip to A&E followed, an X-ray was performed and the result being 6 weeks off work. Not a bad time to be off work I hear you cry but not being able to drive/walk makes it as pointless/beneficial as a bottle of non-alcoholic rouge juice!
So I'm basically confined to the house & garden, which may not be as bad as it sounds; we moved here in mid April this year and since then I've recorded a quite impressive 62 species (Tree Pipit added today) which includes NINE species of raptor (HB, Marsh Harrier, Red Kite, Peregrine, Osprey, Hobby, Buzzard, Sprawk & Kestrel). Other highlights have been a few Cuckoos, a Garganey that flew south at dusk on 11th June, 2 Oystercatchers over on 24th June & 8 Crossbills that flew NE on 6th September - I suppose it helps being so close to farmland and The Dukeries/Sherwood Forest.

 As I stated in my previous post in late May, I'm now perfectly placed for twitching all four corners of Notts should anything rock up and in early June I manage to bag my first Notts tick since December 2013 with a snazzy Red-necked Phal at Langford Lowfields.

Unfortunately I haven't added another since despite a few 'wanted birds' occurring in the county since. I dipped a Gull-billed Tern at Lound, couldn't get to a Rose-coloured Starling in Nottingham before dark and a Black Stork was just too brief. In all honesty I've hardly birded at all during the summer and the Notts year-list resurgence I nodded to at the end of my previous post didn't happen. I simply lost interest in chasing after mundane species that I've seen loads of times before in the county plus the fact the guys who were ahead of me were managing to connect with everything & I just couldn't compete - even a county year list costs money (fuel) that I simply couldn't justify splashing out on.
Now since moving here I've spent many hours scouring Google maps looking for a new patch. I had started watching Budby Flash but with the place already well covered by the regulars, I felt like I was stepping on their toes and decided to concentrate my efforts on finding somewhere close by that is under watched but has potential. Unfortunately I really can't find anywhere like that so have chosen to cover an area of arable land just east of my house. It takes literally three minutes to get to walking (perhaps a little longer if I'm hopping) and is quite obviously under watched. In the pic below, my house is where the red dot is on the left and the patchwork of fields is where I hope to start watching.

 That said, I certainly won't be doing any stomping around those fields until early October at least due to this bastard broken foot so in the meantime I'm restricted to viz-migging from the garden but with a plentiful supply of coffee, shelter only feet away and a proper toilet instead of a convenient hawthorn bush, it's not all bad and at least I'll not be suffering from 'birding burnout' when the proper shit kicks off in October!

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