Monday, 25 April 2011

2,120 miles and counting.

I hate the rezzers. I wish I wasn’t stuck with reservoirs in my local patch. All that concrete and water, and nothing else, not a bush in sight. A visit in spring to these concrete doughnuts may yield little more than 5 species actually on site. The faster you walk to get around, the more you gag on irritating little midges that lodge in your throat.

While watching Eastenders the other night I decided to look through a few old notebooks to see how many times I’ve visited the rezzers. By a fag-packet calculation I reckon I’ve walked 2,120 miles around those sodding banks over 40 years. I’m now catching up with the boys of the past – John Fitz, Phil Vines, Tony Gray. Legends. Where are they now? Probably still so bush-intolerant that they can only stare out to sea from coastal retirement homes.

However, with all that superfluous breeding and resident stuff stripped away, what you get is birds on passage. Some of my best spring vis-mig days have been down there. On a lovely late April day with drizzly north-easterlies and low cloud, stuff can pile through. Hordes of Yellow Wags eating the pesky midges, waders zipping through without a tree to hide behind, and, after lunch, Arctic Terns arriving, gathering, then moving off north (never trust a man who sees an Arctic Tern early in the morning).  In fact, I can’t wait to get back down there.  I love the rezzers.

A sample good day:
3rd May 1980. Strong NE-E wind, cloudy, some drizzle.
King George V (early morning): 2 Oystercatcher north, 1 Sedge Warbler on bank!, 1 Sanderling, 16 Common Terns north, 1 Wheatear, 5 Turnstone.

Walthamstow Res (late morning): 1 Bar-tailed Godwit (on the deck), 4 Ringed Plover, 4 LRP, 1 Turnstone, 6 Wheatear, 1 White Wagtail, 5 Shelduck.

Girling (afternoon): 1 Ashy-headed Wagtail with 30 Yellow Wags, 1 Whimbrel north, 1 Greenshank, 2 Wheatear, 1 Turnstone, 27 Bar-tailed Godwits north, then 100+ Bar-tailed Godwits north.

Below - some recent stuff on the King George: White Wag, Dunlin, Ring Ouzel, Little Gull.

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