Sunday, 23 January 2011
It's been another weekend of attachment to the PC, but I have given the Clerk of Works a committment that it will be the last in a while. Next weekend will be spent with a paint brush in my hand. Does life get any better.
Despite this I was delighted to hear my first singing Chiffchaff of the year. Now was this an over-wintering bird - no I can assure you it wasn't. This was genuine spring migrant. How do I know? Well it might have something to do with the fact that it was heard in the background of the Antiques Roadshow. While they were examining a fascinating old map, if you want to know. Is this a sign of birding frustration that I have to resort to TV bird spotting.
Actually, I can thoroughly recommend it and there was once quite a craze for the TV list. One of the rules was that the bird in question could not be "ticked" if it was on a natural history programme as this was surely too easy. No - for a legitimate TV tick it needs to be incidental to the programme in question. Silver Gulls on the pitch during the Ashes tour a good example. Once you start looking and listening you'll be amazed at what you can find, including some great birdy mistakes. I think it was Midsomer Murders or something similar when Bee-eaters could clearly be heard in the background. I think I should probably swiflty move on, before we get on to "dream lists".
The best bird of the weekend, however, was not the aforementioned Chiffchaff. Oh no, the best bird I actually saw with my own eyes and it was real and everything. And it was a tick. Unfortunately it was an Ashy Faced Barn Owl and was sitting on someone's wrist in the foyer of Morrisons. Drumming up support for the Screech Owl sanctuary, as it happens.
I did actually venture to Siblyback yesterday morning. Quiet as usual (apart from the gaggles of female joggers who seem to have adopted the circuit as their weekend venue since the path was "improved"). Usual Tufties, Little Grebes etc and a good number of vocal Siskin tazzing about. I spent an enjoyable few minutes watching a sparkling Siskin singing from the top of a small pine, bathed in the winter sun. Lovely.
Anyway, with a nod to the task of identifying birds on the periphery of broadcast content, I present you with Mountain Man, and assorted exotic birds in the background. I don't have a clue what they are, but I'm sure the more travelled of you will...