Sunday, March 02, 2008

Wheels of Steel

So, after a breakfast Edwardian style, finished off with lambs' kidneys and a glass of egg nog, I decided to take my vodka martini out with me and enjoyed it as I was wandering round the patch musing on regrets in life. I'd rather muse on egrets (I've had a few, but then again, who cares), but given this is Newtonhill in (let me check) March, regrets are a more realistic aim. MARCH!!!???? Whatever happened to all those February deadlines?! Bollox. I *wondered* why there was a horse's head in my bed last night. AND a dead Caspian Gull on the driveway. I really must stop making promises I can't keep. I will from now on, I promise. Anyway, the regrets in my life, at least the ones that don't involve girls, deciding the shrimps were probably still OK to eat, and 'hell, let's just go for the Mugimaki anyway', are pretty much all about not having been old enough inthe 1970s to write the brilliant sitcoms that I can't stop writing in ma heid now. It really got in the way of birding today. The rise of alternative comedy and sophisticated humour really was my downfall as far as my career as a comedy writer went. And so, Matron, I'm stuck looking at birds, instead of being able to pay someone else to do it for me. Nice day though. Cold cold cold. But the sky was blue, just like your eyes, darling. 'Oh darling, let's get married'. 'But darling, we already *are* married'. 'I mean to each other, darling'. 'Oh darling, you sweet sentimental fool'.
A White-throated Dipper on the Elsick Burn was the first one I've seen for some time, certainly since the autumn, but I guess their breeding schedule is up and running by now. I'll start keeping an eye on last year's nest site. A few Eurasian Siskins flying overhead today, calling - they don't breed here, so birdies are onthe move. Nearly Spring, I guess.
A rumbling in the bushes down the track, and 4 Roe Deer ran out - a buck in full velvet, and 3 hinds -my textbook fieldcraft allowing me to stand there in full view as they noticed me immediately and ran off at high speed.

Two nice people made the mistake of trying to speak to me. It's not that I'm misanthropic (although I am - we had personality tests and everything), it's just that I wish everybody else would p*** off and leave me alone! Not really. But I'm not very chatty when I'm out birding, so they didn't get a lot out of me. Especially when they're telling me stuff I already know. But I think I'm not a very good advert for birdwatching as perceived by the general public. Like I instinctively think all lycra-clad cyclists are sad t******s after a particularly unfortunate encounter with one of them in a public toilet at a Youth Hostel in Lincolnshire about 20 years ago (probably one of the 1% that aren't very nice people). Well Joe Public meets me and thinks all birdwatchers are sad bespectacled loners who seriously need to wash their Army Parka, if that's what it once was. I'm not representative, OK? But I do accept donations if they involve old but relatively clean Army Parkas.

Rock Pipit singing at the cliffs, and offshore, a small flock of Northern Fulmars on the water, a few Common Eiders and a Great Black-backed Gull. Not very impressive. The Herring Gulls were in position on the cliff ledges and on Fraggle Rock, and there were three Razorbills in their breeding dress (a light flowery cotton number, big enough for all of them to squeeze in) on the water off the cliffs.

Cran Hill - shock! Mount Doom has gone. This massive pile of scrapings and effluent from the floor of the local cow shed has been a feature of my life and, dare I say it, a friend, for the past 4 years. Spread now over the fields like the pile of dung that it was. Ah! Mount Doom, we will miss your pungent aroma, and your senstive impairment of our sea view and our enjoyment of the sunrises. You will be remembered always in our hearts and our noses as a testament to the digestive powers of domestic cattle. I look forward to Mount Doom 2: the rise of the dungheaps.

A big hole in my life here

This is how I will always remember you.

A couple of Eurasian Skylarks were singing what could only be a requiem over Mount Doom's remains. Lovely. Other Cran Hill birds.... Yellowhammer, err... Song Thrush and 2 Common Blackbirds in the farm garden, 2 Common Buzzards circling. Do you ever get the feeling you should read what you're writing before you write it?

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