Sunday, February 11, 2007

The Day After Tomorrow

So the observant ones will have noticed that today wasn't an ideal day to be out birding. At least not in North Scotland. I don't know about the rest of the World, cos we've lost all contact with it. In fact this post was hand-written on the back of a Be-bop Deluxe album sleeve and posted by pigeon to an internet cafe in Tangier for uploading. Looked out of the window this morning and saw how wet it was, and actually the prospect of watching several episodes of Birding with Bill Oddie on UKTV Gardens was quite appealing. MMmmmmm... Bill Oddie, put your hands all over my body. But after half an hour of that I decided it was time to tool up and get out. It was one of those days when even the old army coat wasn't going to keep me dry, so I got my 'proper' waterproof. I hardly ever use it - bought it about 10 years ago.... in the shop it looked like a darker version of a subdued airforce blue/grey colour. When I got it outside in the daylight (£105 later) it turned out it was fluorescent blue!! Fantastic for being spotted by mountain rescue when only your arms are sticking out of the snow; crap for creeping up on birds unobserved. Does the job though, if 'the job' is keeping dry and not enjoying leisurely views of relaxed passerines. Still, today it didn't matter becasue the only things I was going to see were the ones I flushed, so maybe it was a benefit.

Eventually out, and as I sheltered behind the Cypress hedge at the Mill gar
den, a male Goosander (Common Merganser) flew over, going inland. Could be quite a valuable patch year list tick that one. In five years I've seen three here, including that one, so it wasn't guaranteed. Just goes to show it's always worth going out. Flushed a few Chaffinches on my way down the track, and stopped in the bay to admire huge waves crashing into the shore and someone with a 'See you jimmy' hat, complete with red hair, pottering about on the pebbles.

This is a see-you jimmy hat, for those going 'wtf?'. Bit of Scottish culture for you.

Difficult to see what was going on offshore, so I climbed up to the big green box for the pump at the Wastewater Pumping station, in the teeth of the weather (cold and wet and windy). I managed to wedge myself into the gap between the box and the wall (with some difficulty, it's about 30 cm wide), and by twisting round could get a look out to sea without getting sprayed by water. It was err... well worth it. About 40 Herring Gulls hovering in the wind in a line along the edge of the white water of the surf, swooping down to get food items. I don't care where you're from, that looks like hard work. With nothing else on view, I went back home through the village, calling in at all the gardens with bird feeders. SO I saw lots of House Sparrows, Starlings, Chaffinches, Greenfinches, a few European Goldfinches and a couple of mad dog walkers.

Bad weather continued in the afternoon to the extent that I got so bored and desperate that I cleaned the kitchen. I found a dead moth and an earwig under the George Forman Lean Mean Fatbusting Grilling Machine. I scrubbed the sink, cleaned down the side of the fridge and even swept the floor. It's not like me at all. Mind, I wore my leather jeans to maintain the rock n' roll image. Figured I'd get my midlife crisis in nice and early. Hope things improve tomorrow.


Tom McKinney said...

Martin, I love you*. I'd totally forgotten about the Bill Oddie clip. Thanks for the link.


*but not like that.

Martin said...

*but not like that

If you'd seen me in my leather pants you would.

Harry said...

WHAT is Bill doing with his LEFT hand...?

Martin said...

WHAT is Bill doing with his LEFT hand...?

Well, Madge does have that effect on men of a certain age. not me though...