Sunday, 14 March 2010

Last night I dreamt I went to Manderlay again..

Proverbial weekend of two halves, neither of which involved any birding. Yesterday (Saturday) I went into the office - it's that time of year when every client suddenly wants things done by the end of March. I'm sure they were all enjoying their weekends, and as is "working at weekends law" - it is absolutely glorious. Ho hum.
Today, of course, is mother's day, and a three line whip about not working. Quite so. We head down to the coast near Fowey (pronounced Foy) for a walk that circumnavigates the Menabilly estate - the home of Daphne Du Maurier and the inspiration for Manderlay. We once saw a stage version of Rebecca starring Nigel Havers. It was awful.
Anyway, down on the coast and a mile or so walk from the nearest car park is one of those spots that you just think if it got decent coverage (it may well do for all I know) would really turn up the goods - a sheltered valley with a lake right on the beach. Today there are 7 Wigeon and 4 Tufted Duck, but you can easily imagine a Ring necked duck hanging out here. There are 20 Moorhen diving for weed in the middle of the lake which is a rather unusual sight. In the woods a Chiffchaff is singing - a sound that always lifts my spirits. It is one of those fantactic moments that birders (or indeed ex birders) get every year - the first Chiffchaff, Wheatear, and for me the first lilting song of the Willow Warbler. But Chiffchaff is good enough for today - Spring is really on its way.
I think it's a sign that I was never a real hardcore birder that I always preferred Spring to Autumn. Don't get me wrong, a post easterly bush bashing is exciting, and I've had some really special days on the East coast in September and October, but Autumn is always tainted by the fact that the cold grey of a british winter is on its way. Spring on the other brilliant!! And I think my most memorable finds have been Spring birds. Two Subalpine Warblers, including a singing bird on St Mary's, several sparkling Bluethroats, and perhaps the best - a male Rustic bunting. A really stupendous bird!! And there's also something nice about being warm and dry when you find a bird!!
Roll on next weekend.


  1. Well, we now know that Fowey is pronounced Foy.... but how do we pronounce Foy?
    Let's face it, with this silly language, you can't be sure of anything! ( pronounced "ang" )
    From Ray ( pronounced " Realgh").

  2. Well that's nothing - there's a spot up in Devon called Woolfardisworthy. When I pronounced it as written it caused much hilarity with the locals who informed me that it was pronounced Woolsery. Of course. I mean that's obvious innit?

  3. Well, if you pronounced it " as written" I would hardly be surprised it raised a laugh.
    It begins with a W for a start.
    The general rule is to miss out most of the middle bit.
    So I would pronounce it " Woothy."
    If they laughed, I would smack then in the gob to see how they pronounced " Ouch."
    There you are Adrian, another of Ray's famous Rules of Life yours for free.

  4. I was wondering whether 'Menabilly' was a particularly macho form of old stylee, rockin' country music?