Welcome to my blog. If you live in Surrey and birding is your obsession (to get out of bed at some ridiculously early time of the morning, no matter what the weather, to go and look at birds isn't normal behaviour, believe me) and you're still a bit of a novice (like me) then, hopefully, this blog is for you.

Friday, 7 August 2015


I haven't actually been out for a proper birding session since that elusive Hudsonian Whimbrel – and that was in the middle of June!

I did pop in at Oare Marshes for about 40 minutes on the way home from visiting my mum last month. The Bonaparte's Gull was nowhere to be seen, but the highlights was spotting two Mediterranean Gull flying in off the Swale and landing briefly on the East Flood before heading off north west, and seeing a Water Rail walking boldly into the open with a pair of nervous chicks doing their best to follow before scurrying back to the safety of the reeds.

Oare Marshes on a July evening
Bold Water Rail at Oare
Tentative Water Rail chick
I've missed a fair bit – it's a bit shameful to admit but I haven't been anywhere locally all summer, so I haven't seen one Redstart, Spotted Flycatcher or Nightjar, for example. I can't really put my finger on why but other things have taken priority. And I think I needed a bit of time away from birding if I'm honest.

It can take up so much of you time and if you give in to the urge, it can take over from more important things in life. I haven't travelled far at all, apart for a motorsport event last month.

Much of the absence has been due to work, some of it apathy but in recent weeks, it's been shingles!

I went down with shingles two and a half weeks ago and have felt pretty rough ever since. While the rash has gone, the nerve-jangling pain is still there on and off. But the one symptom that is really getting me down is the fatigue.

I'm fine to go to work (although I've just taken the week off) but even a leisurely walk around the local patch wears me out.

Bloody annoying, frankly.

Mind you, not being able to walk the patch isn't currently much of a hardship, as there is bugger all to see, or to hear, for that matter.

Gordon Hay, Ian Kehl and Ray Baker have kept me posted on recent sightings - the highlights of which have been a Black-tailed Godwit and an Oystercatcher, but very little else has paid a visit.

I managed to go for a brief stroll Wednesday and yesterday lunchtime, but all was very quiet – almost deathly so. Best sightings were a pair of Kingfisher, a Yellowhammer, three Swift heading south and a pair of Roe Deer in a wheat field on Mercer's Farm.

Still, while the disappointing summer still hangs on by its fingernails for about another three weeks, the autumn migration will then start in earnest, and hopefully I'll be back at full fitness by then.

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