Tuesday, 15 January 2013

How to make friends and influence people

Tell me, dear reader, what you would do in this situation.

Imagine, if you will, that you are walking down the canalside for your lunchtime stroll when you spot someone walking toward you. This person is wearing a shirt, black trousers and shoes and is probably an office worker in the local area. You'd normally pass them without a second glance but, in this case, the person in question is eating a six inch wrap from a paper bag with every sign of enjoyment while some kind of white sauce drips out the bottom all over his coat, his black trousers and his shoes. He seems oblivious.

Do you:

a) Stop him and let him know that he is dripping dodgy looking white stuff all over his office clothes.
b) Just let him go about his merry way, perhaps giving him a slightly odd look as you pass

Apparently the residents of Islington favour option B. I must have looked, to use the vernacular, right fucking special; walking down Regents canal holding a large paper bag and covered in tahini. I think I got the worst of it off, and the people in my office are used to me being a scruff so probably no damage done, but it was a bit embarassing.

Anyway, on the way back I saw a Grey Heron on a narrow boat. Score.


Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Kicking off 2013

Since I was both gigging and driving on New Year's Eve, I had the unique experience of being stone cold sober and not at all hungover on New Year's morning. However, having got to bed at 4am, morning birding didn't happen. In the end good intentions went out the window and the day's birdwatching ended up being an hour or two round Rainham Marshes. Or as it turned out, Rainham Lake.



In another turn up for the books, girlfriend actually turned out to be better equipped than me since she was wearing wellies and could wade through everything with impunity, while I had to climb along fence railings and and make stupid daring jumps to get round to the Butts hide. With so much water on the reserve the waders were packed into a pleasingly small space within easy scoping distance, but I still didn't pick up anything more than Golden Plover and Lapwing. Still, I got most of the more common wildfowl and some of the easy passerines (and one Wren).

All in all I walked out with 26 on the year list, having not really tried very hard (in my defence the wind was biting and cold and, while she's normally very good about the birdwatching, if I'd stopped every hundred yards to scope up gulls I might not have survived to the finish).

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Today I upped that total to 28 though, unfortunately, for the Feral Pigeon tick this involved looking out of the window and seeing two of the standard London stock humping on the roof of the building next to mine. I don't recommend; I will now be unable to unsee that until next year. Such is London birding.

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I'm going to start keeping a count for this year, though with buying a flat next month I'm not expecting much time in the first quarter of the year. Let's say I'm keeping a list, but not listing.

If the weather carries on like this, birdwatching may require all of us to also take up swimming.

I think Rainham are missing a trick not hiring out volunteers in gondolas
to carry you round the reserve at the moment.