Tuesday, June 9, 2020

A Waiting Game

Five in the morning and I lay wide-awake, mulling over the weekend gone and the days ahead. With another morning of waiting around for a promised delivery, I felt a rant coming on and sat at the keyboard with one eye trained along the road outside. 

For three days we watched for a delivery that never arrived. But the neighbours' did. White Van Man and then another food drop as Sainsbury’s green one failed to stop at Number 3. I swear those neighbours are stockpiling the garage, cupboards and freezers for the next pandemic or the newest Project Fear, inspired by our unbiased and impartial but highly predictable media. 

I have news for BBC, ITV, Channel Four and Sky - We, the public who pay your wages, know what you’re doing, your hidden agendas.  For sure it’s the re-election of President Donald Trump in November 2020 and Real Brexit of 1st January 2021 when the media’s EU funding dries up. 

I left Sue on lookout Monday afternoon and snuck out to Cockerham for a look along the sea wall. Richard had newly fixed Covid signs to gateposts to deter social distancing doggie and cycle folk from their recent and ongoing trespass through his sheep and cattle. None had bothered to seek permission for their jaunts. So it continues - farmers versus townies and never the twain shall meet. 

I had a good selection of birds where the pool, reeds and hedgerows provided the best. At least six singing Reed Warbler and three pairs of Reed Bunting proved easy to find by their respective songs. More difficult to see were now quiet Sedge Warbler, Blackcap and even Chaffinch, all of which by June have less need to display their desirability.

Reed Bunting 

Reed Warbler 

The water held several Greylag, Mute Swans with 2 young, 4 Tufted Duck, 2 Shelduck, the inevitable Little Egret, and whinnying but unseen Little Grebes. The grebes may be on their second brood by now because ten days ago I saw a flotilla of young and old disappear into the pool margins. 

Little Grebe 

Along the sea wall the Environment Agency had found work for idle hands whereby three x four by four vehicles and a JCB were sent to drive up and down the bund and shift tidal wrack a few yards higher up the sea wall. The story is that the lower down debris stops the growth of grass that binds the grass to the substrate which in turn maintains the strength of the bund. The bund/sea wall serves as a defence to high tides that might one day engulf the land behind. Mystified? Yes, me too. 

Needless to say, I saw few Skylarks, the single species that actually nests on the same ground during May, June and July and along which the vehicles drove up and down for some hours. In several visits I have seen no evidence of Skylarks nesting along here this spring. I also think The Environment Agency could do with a makeover that includes a different title.


Along the ditches and dykes came 6 Oystercatcher, 5 Redshank, 4 more Little Egret, a single Pied Wagtail and several Linnets. Out on the marsh were distant gulls, more Shelduck and 2 Eider ducks, male and female but as far as could tell, no young in tow. Half-a-dozen Swallows and a lone Swift drifted by. 

I bumped into Richard, out to survey his barley, a crop struggling for height in this driest of springs. As we spoke a Roe Deer crashed from the dense hedgerow, bounded through the crop and disappeared out of sight. 

Richard told me the family had not ventured out onto Murder Mile last weekend because they could see and hear the probable aftermath of release from lockdown. They were right to stay safe. Bikers hurtled full throttle along the A588 where 100 yards up from the farm another middle aged wannabe racer bit the dust by landing head first into the roadside ditch. Six kids and a wife left behind. Another needless death caused by the China virus. 

I heard tell via the Internet that all three Avocet nests at Conder Pool had failed so motored on for a gander. Indeed all gone with not a one to be seen, least of all little fluffy grey ones. There’d been a little unanswered discussion online as to why the Avocets failed so miserably, perhaps sheep or mink, even though Oystercatchers and gulls yards away produced fine chicks? 

No one seems or even wants to know except that grazing sheep or a mink might carry the unopened can of worms, but not bird watchers. 

Luckily, another pair of Avocets half a mile away on a stony island encircled by comatose, immobile anglers succeeded where others failed. There they strode, three healthy looking chicks and two proud parents who for weeks saw off Grey Herons, gulls and Greylag Geese with no interference from trespassing birders. 



We’re still waiting for the van. Watch this space.

Linking today to Anni's Blogspot and Eileen's Saturday Blogspot.


The Padre said...

Fascinating Photos Here - Stay Strong


Rhodesia said...

Good set of photos. We do not get food delivery here so cannot moan, but Nigel did order a part for the weed eater that broke 6 weeks ago. Delivery within 7 days they said, It took just over a month, by then the lawn edges looked a real mess!!

The little owl was very photogenic last night. Ignoring me getting closer and closer. I heard a lot of calling earlier in the day that sounded like 3 calls from different places but maybe I dreamt it! 🦉🦉🦉 I have a new, slightly more powerful lens arriving Saturday (well maybe) so I hope the owl is good to me again.

Take care and stay safe, Diane

Mike Attwood said...

Good selection of photo's Phil. Stay safe. Mike.

Angie said...

Don't get me started on politics - I would much rather talk about and look at your birds! Yes, the perfect antidote when one feels a rant coming on. Thanks for another finely written post, with pictures to match!

italiafinlandia said...

Interesting report, as usual.
The Avocet with her chicks is one of your masterpieces! (as a shot)

Stevenson Q said...

Indeed a great collection you shared to us on this post my friend Phil! That skylark looks super handsome on those shades of brown! Thakn you for sharing these to us and I hope you are doing well there in Britain my friend. Still so hot here in the Philippines but the coveted rain visited us this afternoon after a week of 40C afternoons so thanks be to God :)

Rhodesia said...

My new lens has arrived - TAMRON Megazoom - 18-400 mm. I went outside to give it a try and there were two owls waiting to be photographed. Not close enough to get them together but I got some great shots. 😊😊 Diane

Wally Jones said...

I well remember my first sighting of a Skylark. Northeastern Bavaria. The male was atop a hay bale, sprung into the air, singing at the top of his lungs, hovered for what seemed an eternity and dropped from the air like a stone. He revived in about half a minute and staggered off through the grass. Thank you for a nice memory, Phil!

Sorry to hear some Avocets' nesting failed but what a great family portrait of one which succeeded!

"Environment Agency". Sort of like hearing "I'm from the government and I'm hear to help you." Oxymorons sans the oxy.

The Transatlantic Sub-Tropical Branch of The Rebel Alliance is closed. Mostly due to lack of interest. We decided to ignore most of it and immerse ourselves in heat, humidity, birds, bugs and blooms. So far it's working well.

Take deep breaths, my friend, remain ignorant with regard to news and politics and go birding!

Elkes Lebensglück said...

Wonderful selection of photos.
Stay safe,Elke

Mae Travels said...

Thank you for taking us along on your bird walk. Some day I hope to see those birds for real.

be well... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

eileeninmd said...


Wonderful variety of birds and beautiful photos. I think the Avocet is a favorite, along with the Reed Bunting and Skylark. It seems like people go crazy after being let out after being quarantined. The trash they leave behind is awful. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Enjoy your day, have a happy weekend. Happy Birding!

Anu said...

Hello. Wonderful photos. Avocets look so great.
Take care!

Karen said...

LOts of great birds. The Grebe is sweet looking.

Adam Jones said...

It sounds like you've had a bad week Phil, much like those Avocets. Hopefully things will improve next week.
So many idiots in this country who don't give a damn about anyone else or wildlife. Makes me want to pack up and move to an island where it's just me and nature. Maybe even the Hebredies.

Jean @sonotorganized.com said...

Wonder what the birds would think of all our politics? Enjoyed all your bird photos especially the one of the Reed Bunting. Very nice. Hope things improve for you soon and that you are having a nice weekend.

Anni said...

Just maybe your delivery van went to your neighbors, delivered your order, and they kept it! (Just kidding). You saw a good number of birds on your outing. And those chicks are so so sweet.

Now, about your commentary today...you sound like the two of us. Government, beauracy, twisted actions & corruption,...like a global disease. And god help us on this upcoming election. (Churchill statue being defaced in London makes me sick...this younger generation don't realize if it weren't for him, England would be a Fascist country today) There, I said it. I feel better. :-)

Hope your day has been super so far, and thanks for joining us at IRBB.

Shiju Sugunan said...

Great series! Loved all the pics.

Lowcarb team member said...

Lovely photographs.
Hope the van has shown up by now!

All the best Jan

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