Sunday, November 30, 2008

Chinese Democracy

Blimey, it's St Andrew's Day, so like any true Scotsman (I am in fact 1/4 Scotch by adoption) I went to the Church of St Andrew in Kiev and celebrated in the traditional way by supping a ancient-recipe cream-of-dioxin soup. Must say it hasn't done a whole lot for my complexion. I'm starting to see why St Andrew's Day never caught on like other famous saints like errr... St Martin. There was a St. Martin apparently. Roman guy, gave his coat away to a beggar or something. I gave my coat to Oxfam* and was never made a saint. There's no justice.

Actually, that's a lie... I never gave my coat to Oxfam. But it's the principle of the thing.

When I got back I engaged in the traditional St Andrew's day pastime of birdspotting. Forgot a biro, so I will have to regress through hypnotism to recall the events of the day. 1, 2, 3... and I'm under. The first thing I remember... I was covered in blood, there was a bright light and then someone smacked me... whoops, regressed too far. Fast forward 39 years. It was -3 C and icy with it, and the track alongside the Elsick Burn was hoaching with frost-addled birds, half mad with hunger and the other half mad with me for flushing them. And unusually, they were buntings - a mixed flock of ~12 Common Reed Buntings and 25 Yellowhammers. With the usual tommy titmice, Winter Wrens, European Robins etc. And a couple of Goldcrests. I don't remember anything else until the last drops of absinthe drained from my system, by which time I was on the clifftops scoping out to sea. The sea was pretty quiet, tbh, with the best action coming when an Atlantic Grey Seal refused to share its fish with an assembled audience of gulls (1 Great Black-backed, 12 Herring, 3 Common (Mew) and 1 Black-headed). Two Peregrine Falcons chased each other south, and a Common Buzzard soared past over the sea. A couple of Red-throated Divers went north, and there were a coupler of Guillemots (Common Murres) on the water with some Common Eiders. 2 Purple Sandpipers on the shore, with a few Eurasian Oystercatchers and Curlews.
After getting Snow Bunting on my patch list last week, they gave themselves up bigtime this week when a flock of 25 went north just offshore - obviously Aberdeenshire isn't cold enough for them.

There was other sundry stuff about, but there you go. Took the family to the Bervie Chipper at lunchtime, and then to the Christmas Fair to see Santa. In summary, it's wintery. Some local movement. I could have told you that without going on about my day.

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