Saturday, 23 June 2012

A Day of Two Halves 17 June 2012

Finally the weather relented and thoughts turned to Honey Buzzards in the New Forest. It was with some optimism that I headed down the A34 from Oxfordshire to Acres Down. I duly arrived in a pleasant early morning and set up the scope at around 9am and waited and waited aaaaaaaaaand waited. Thirty Common Buzzards, seven Goshawks, two Ravens and a Hobby later and at 12 noon not a sign of an HB. There is only one thing to do in such a situation and that is to get zen about the world and accept that it is not going to happen. Honey Buzzards are nothing if not enigmatic.Some days there is no wait and sometimes views are spectacular but they are very much in the minority. Often it ends up like today. Undeterred I descended into the woods below Acres Down and found Woodlarks, Tree Pipits and many Common Redstarts. Siskins and Crossbills called and flew overhead. So it was not all bad.

I decided to call it a day and headed for Kingham and home. Arriving mid afternoon in a frenzy of zeal I set about mowing the lawn before the predicted rain arrived and afterwards settled myself in a chair outside with a gin and tonic. A Robin approached me, one of a pair that have already raised a brood in the garden and are now onto their second. It came closer and closer until only three feet way when it started singing quietly all the while eyeing me intently. I know one should not anthropomorphise about such things but I like to think it was communicating in its own Robiny way. Knowing how pugnacious this species is it was probably foul and abusive Robin speak but I was unconscious of this.

Last year exactly the same thing happened when I watered the garden (yes those were the days when it was actually dry for days on end). A Robin followed me around as I watered and in between seizing prey disturbed by the watering would sing close to me. Maybe it was the same Robin? As I drank my gin and tonic I watched the Blackbirds feeding their newly fledged young hiding below the Hostas and the Blue Tits visiting their nest in the dry stone wall and realised how fortunate I was to have all this literally on my doorstep. Later, after the Robin had departed I reflected that in my garden or close by there were breeding Robin, Blackbird, Blue Tit, House Sparrow, Dunnock, Spotted Flycatcher, Goldcrest, Swift and Swallow. By this time I was on my third gin and I think tonic was still involved but I am sure you get the message............

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