Sunday, 2 August 2009

Tick ethics

Friday lunchtime was much more interesting than expected. I wandered down to the riverside outside the Tower of London and espied a small RSBP stall trying to catch the passing trade. Had a chat with one of the guys on there about lcoal birds, and he explained that since the Peregrine Watchpoint at Waterloo had been a success they were experimenting by branching out a bit down the river. Makes perfect sense to me, and I know there's a small community of office workers who bird the Tower at lunchtimes (of which I consider myself one of the less active members) so there's clearly a market.

The ticking dilemma is as follows. The nice RSBP people had a VERY nice Swarovski scope set up pointing at the old power station (now the Tate Modern) where the Peregrines tend to roost, and they asked if I'd like a look. Which of course I did. So can a Peregrine count as a Tower tick if it was actually sitting a mile and a half away down the river? My usual rule is that if I can see a bird FROM a site, it counts. And for sites like Rainham (which I couldn't see across even with a scope, it's huge) and my Garden (which has no line of sight beyond the houses over the back) that's fine. It just feels a bit unnatural to have the following conversation:

Me: "I got a Peregrine patch tick at the Tower of London today!"
Other: "Fantastic, where was it perched?"
Me: "Bankside"

I'll probably take it, because I know they HAVE been seen by the Tower. And it brings my Tower patch list up to a whopping 27 (roll on the Common Terns).

And after missing the Little Egrets AND the Black Tailed Godwit, both seen over the last couple of weeks, I need some cheering up.

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