Sunday, 19 August 2012

Back to fitness, Marsh Harrier and Birdfair

Around the time of the last blog entry at the end of July, I thought I was over the worst of a cold.  But it's been a real lingerer, very slow to shift.  Then continuing work with it, by the end of a working week you become a physical wreck.  Without going into too much detail, sometimes my nose resembled that of dear old Gilbert here:

During the intervening time a couple of visits to Uttoxeter Quarry were managed, but with little energy.  But it did produce two different Med Gulls, a 2nd winter on the 4th August (along with a drenching in the rain) and an adult on the 15th August.

So to get right up to date for this weekend.  The undoubted highlight of morning's Uttoxeter Quarry visit was towards the end.  When walking away from the main gravel pit and turned round to find the gulls and Lapwings had been flushed.  The cuplrit was a large, all dark-brown raptor with a cream head.  A female/juvenile Marsh Harrier being mobbed by Common Terns, woohoo! 

Presumably it's the same bird that went through last Sunday, and the recent Blithfield bird?  Could be, I don't know.  Other birds included a Greenshank, 7 Common Sands, 4 Green Sands, 13 Common Terns, 27 Teal and a few warblers including Whitethroat, Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler.  Then an afternoon around Blithfield, along with other members of the regional blogosphere, produced such delights as 31 Black Terns between the causeway and Beech Tree Point, and Redstart and Lesser Whitethroat in the bushes below the dam.

Onto today.  I've been thinking for a while about going to the Rutland Water Birdfair, so for once I did.  Mainly to chat with the people who have helped arrange some of my trips over the last few years, as time has progressed I've thought that's something I really ought to do. 

My last visit to the Birdfair was in 2004, eight years ago, and vividly remember coming away feeling completely bewildered by the sheer range and choice of tourism companies, optics and other products and organisations available to you.  Eight years on, none of that has changed.  I can understand why the exhibitors keep returning year after year.  But personally as a punter, it's too much to take in, the marquees are too hot and sweaty, which leads to it all being a bit frustrating.  There Tim Appleton, stick that in your pipe and smoke it.

However, one event was throughly enjoyable.  That was the talk on the tales of Exmoor (and a programme from Alaska this christmas), by the Beast of Exmoor himself, Mr Johnny Kingdom:

Admittedly he's no David Attenborough.  But what he lacks in knowledge is made up with enthusiam, and he's mad as a box of frogs!

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