Thought I'd better say something on here before my viewing figures hit the negatives (and they're not far off it already) . I haven't really been out and about much this week but have seen a couple of nice birds, one of which you'll be amazed to hear was an Iceland Gull. As you know these little beauties have been literally infesting the Axe Estuary of late, but unfortunately for me, have been timing their appearances to coincide nicely with my clocking on time of five o'clock. (I've checked the gulls most days this week at three to three thirty-ish) I did manage to get out for five minutes before work on Wednesday and see one, albeit for a few seconds through Gav's scope, I was subsequently a teensy bit late for work. Friday's gull prevented this from happening again by not showing itself until exactly five o'clock. Well either this, or Gav kindly waited until five to text me the news, knowing he would save me from any further incidents of bird induced lateness! There was an earlier one today, at around three thirty! But I'd decided to wait until four thirty to have a quick pre-work gull fix. I'm feeling 'a bit hard done to' having only seen THREE this year! Oh well, there're bound to be loads more.
The other good bird this week was the Cattle Egret near Lyme Bay Auctions. I didn't get the news of this for an hour or so because I was hoovering and didn't hear my phone, an excuse that was apparently a touch on the unbelievable side. As if! Ask anyone who knows me and they'll tell you that my housekeeping skills, and indeed the zeal with which I employ them, are almost legendary! ;-) Seeing as I promised that I wouldn't take any more photos of Cattle Egrets I didn't even bother to go and look at this one, least I be tempted and as some famous Irish bloke once said "I can resist anything but temptation"
On Wednesday I had a very welcome patch year tick with a Woodcock in Ox Hill Woods near Colyton. I very nearly got a photo too, which would have been a real scoop. The bird that I flushed from cover only flew a short distance and I could see exactly where it had landed, I started to creep up on it but to no avail because Rex got there first and the bird flew again, this time out of view. Woodcock was my 109th patch tick this year, a pathetic 13 behind the patch total and probably something like 11 behind Steve, who is year listing like a man possessed! He's obviously really eager to get his hands on my magnificent trophy! Who can blame him?
On Tuesday Bramble (the Guinea Pig) went to the vets for 'a small procedure' as they tactfully called it. You may be pleased to hear that he's made a full recovery, I however have NOT! Can you believe it cost £57.00!! I vowed to keep my eyes fixed firmly on the road in future and if I did happen to see another creature in distress to turn a blind eye. Yesterday this vow was tested and my resolve was found to be wanting. I was walking Rex over an apparently empty stubble field when a fluttering object caught my eye, 'just a leaf' I thought. It wasn't though, it was a Skylark, obviously injured and unable to take flight. As far as I could see it, I had three options:
1) Turn a blind eye and leave the poor thing to it's inevitable demise.
2) Get a camera and take a set of stunning, pin sharp, frame filling close ups of this obviously wild bird in it's natural surroundings and revel in the praise I'd receive for my photographic skill and superlative field craft. (Um, I wonder if this has ever been done!?)
3) Pick it up and take it home like a 'soft-hearted sucker.'
I've had it at home now for about thirty six hours. It hasn't died surprisingly, and it's eating and drinking but still can't fly. I'm hoping it's just a sprain, the wing doesn't appear broken. Only time will tell I suppose. Here it is: