Poor old Gilbert is getting restless. Despite the fact that there is more interest in wildlife than ever before, it seems that most of the so-called conservation organisations are losing interest in species. Instead they prefer to babble on about landscape scale conservation and ecosystem services (whatever they are). Could this be because most of their staff don't have any knowledge about species if they don't have four legs?
This is my attempt to encourage an interest in good old-fashioned natural history.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

It's just like being in Nepal

Needed to get out and see some wildlife and there seems to be so little about anywhere at the moment so I thought I'd have another look for the Pallas's Warbler on the Hants / Berks border near Eversley. I arrived in light snow to find 15 or so birders looking aimlessly in the wrong direction so wandered along the river and almost immediately a small bird with a bright lemon rump flew from my side of the river to the opposite bank and started feeding a few inches above the river, working it's way along the bank. I called the birders over and everyone got good views but no-one bothered to say thank you! This scenario was repeated a couple of times over the next 2 hours so when I again refound the bird, preening a few feet away I thought 'sod the lot of them' and I kept quiet and just watched the bird on my own. This worked out very well and the bird eventually came and fed less than 2 metres from me on the bank.

Various other species were working the bank of the river and assorted flood debris, searching for food. Most were things that you would expect; Robin, Dunnock, Wren, Grey Wagtail, Goldcrest, Long-tailed Tit, etc. but the sight of a Meadow Pipit scrabbling about on the bank under brambles just a few feet away showed how tough things are.

So why the post title? Well the last time I saw a Pallas's Warbler in the snow was in Nepal and the open-sewer smell of the River Blackwater was reminiscent of a certain wall in Pokhara that I spent a 'pleasant' hour crouched behind, suffering the effects of Giardia. I'll spare you the details.

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