Sunday, October 21, 2007

'Nemesis' Bird

Ah, what a day. Begun in joy and with feelings of expectation, ending in sadness and with feelings of crushing hopelessness. Just like all the other days then!

First, a trip round the patch. In a fit of misplaced optimism I had loaded calls of Pallas's Leaf Warbler, Red-breasted Flycatcher and, ahem, Red-flanked Bluetail, onto my phone. Just in case, y'know. As it turned out, loading calls of European Robins and Blackbirds would have been more useful, cos that's what was actually here. Very small numbers of Goldcrests, and Coal Tits, and a couple of Eurasian Siskins flying past. A (the?) pair of Common Stonechats were up the cliff steps, and another at the far corner of the Cran Hill track. A party of 7 Common (?) Crossbills flying over Newtonhill were a bizarre interlude. NO idea what is going on there.

I had a quick look offshore (15 min, 10:15 - 10:30). Amazing how quickly things go quiet - no Gannets, no Kittiwakes, but a single Atlantic Puffin feeding close inshore, with a Guillemot (Common Murre) and Razorbill - looks like I'm getting my auks in 1s today.

I'd like to take this opportunity to remind everyone here that there are hundreds of thousands of people, all over the World.

Took a wee adventure outside the arbitrarily defined boundaries of my patch, up to a tempting patch of trees at Downies. I hadn't realised how much good habitat there is at Downies (from Cran Hill it looks like one house, a tree and a fuschia bush), but actually it's rather garden-city, quite isolated and on a hill. mmmmmmm.... No birds today, but I should keep a better look out.

Wtf? THIS sign has appeared along the Cran Hill track.

I'm confused... should I go that way or not? Are they a tourist attraction? Surely it's not the cliffs that are dangerous, but the wave-washed rocks at the bottom?

I avoided the footpath to dangerous cliffs, and walked home through the stubble from Cran Hill, seeing a Eurasian Tree Sparrow, in company with 8 Yellowhammers. I tried to string a juv Yellowhammer into a Pine Bunting. Sorry.

Back home a playing with my loverly children. There has been some recent bullshit hyperbole on BirdChat recently about people's 'Nemesis bird'. Now, to my mind that is going a bit strong. Wiki says:

(in Greek, Νέμεσις), also called Rhamnousia/Rhamnusia ("the goddess of Rhamnous"), at her sanctuary at Rhamnous, north of Marathon, in Greek mythology was the spirit of divine retribution against those who succumb to hubris, vengeful fate personified as a remorseless goddess.

Which seems a little unfair as a way of describing a bird you're having a little difficulty seeing. 'Bogey' birds I can relate to. Mine was always Hawfinch - not uncommonly. Took me 25 attempts before I saw them in North Wales. Since they went safely UTB, I have to admit that my bogey bird is... White-winged Tern (White-winged Black Tern)... a bird that not only have I managed to avoid seeing on several occasions in Britain (they always go the day, on in some cases, the hour, before I get there), but in fact I have managed to avoid seeing ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD! So when I got news of one at Loch of Skene, about 12 miles from my house, this afternoon, Diane could tell by my twitchy feet it was kinder just to let me go. I got there at 15:40 and scanned round the Loch - impressive roost of Pink-footed Geese (2000+) in the middle, with smaller numbers of Greylags. Eurasian Wigeons, Tufted Ducks, Common Pochards, European Coots, Common (Mew) Gulls but no 'boy'. I hung around for a bit, but couldn't see any floaty terns, and went off home. The area was crawling with Common Buzzards and I picked up one of the reintroduced Red Kites (a juvvy) over the road to the south of the Loch.
Was inordinately displeased to read on BirdGuides that it had flown off at 15:30. Clucking Bell! TEN minutes late. Ouch!

1 comment:

Harry said...

Hi Doc,
I really felt the relief this am in your text, will let you tell all in due course! Result!