Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Rambling on and on...

Birds on stamps. Red Necked Phalarope, Iceland, 1989.

A Red-Eyed Vireo from North America. This one was on The Isles of Scilly, UK, about 20 years ago.

Minus money, car and time I rarely go birding these days, and if I do its likely to be a trip to a nearby park next a Tesco supermarket, with facilities catering to the unwelcome attentions of local vandals. Once every few years I spend a few weeks or months running the gauntlet of dog walkers, horse riders and kamikaze mountain bikers in an attempt to rekindle my semi lapsed interests. The lakes are too deep to attract anything more than a few fishermen, but despite the odds I have spent many hours tiptoeing around the reed fringed edges and surrounding fields in the vain hope that I would turn up something interesting. Unable to shift this need to bird I find myself obsessively counting the gulls on Jesus Green, small flocks of starlings on chimney pots, winter swirls of Redwings and mixed flocks of crows returning to roost over the college. Whenever I here a bird call my head swivels around instinctively, at home the bookshelves groan under the weight of bird books and the fading photos of rare birds that I ticked off in my twitching days lie at the bottom of a messy draw. My head is crawling with memories. Seabirds and waders on the North East coast of England, a kaleidescope of colourful warblers, thousands of Monarch butterflies that drifted across a road like confetti in a season spent following the bird migrations in North America, a Painted Bunting puffing out it's chest feathers against the clean mountain air as it freed sweet melodies upon the green mountain State of Vermont, and many more birdy moments, too many to mention here or even recall. So I hope you will forgive my obsessive compulsions and introspective ramblings, its only me birding from my rocking chair.

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