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An individual, of no great importance, who is unable to the see the natural world as a place for competition. I catch fish, watch birds, derive immense pleasure from simply looking at butterflies, moths, bumble-bees, etc - without the need for rules! I am Dylan and this is my blog - if my opinions offend? Don't bother logging on again - simple!

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Saturday, 8 March 2014

One last go - then on with the show!

As an old gimmer, the traditional coarse fishing season still plays a large part in my angling year. The enforced close season, of yesteryear, has all but gone - rivers excepted; and I am able to pursue my quarry on a year round quest yet Pike fishing has always been a cold weather pursuit, and I don't see my opinions have changed much since I first started to seriously fish for the species in the early 1980's.
The season 2013/14 has been a real roller coaster, at an individual level, I have struggled throughout, although not always with my own lack of ability. This season has seen unprecedented amounts of rain,  prolonged periods of ridiculous gales and unseasonal high temperatures - none of which are particularly conducive to good angling prospects. If I remove the four weeks from the end of July to 21st August (when I took three double figure barbel from the Kentish Stour) the rest of my season can be summarised by an 18lb 9oz pike and a 2lbs 6oz perch. Not much of a return for an awful lot of effort?

Common Buzzard - a gimme during Spring and Autumn from our
garden. If you know the signs, the gulls will tell you of their approach
long before you see them
The pike fishing season, in England, ends (for me) on 14th March and as such tomorrow will be, due to work and family commitments, my final session. "Shit or bust!" is a perfect summary of the situation that I'm in - I have four, or so, hours in which to rescue my season before the pike gear is stowed away, prior to our annual Scottish sojourn. I certainly won't cease fishing, but pike will not be my target species. I have plans for a few sessions after day-ticket perch and tench - I'll see how that pans out.

Red Kites are becoming an ever common sight in the skies above Kent.
An obvious, and direct, consequence of the fantastic success of the re-introduction
schemes around the UK, they are still a magnificent species to behold.
In the interim I do have the prospect of the annual Thanet raptor fest. Mid March onwards, depending on the conditions, Common Buzzards, Red Kites and other assorted BoP's pass over this Hallo'ed Isle. There is a well documented westerly bias to these movements - Margate Cemetery seeing far more action than Dumpton as birds overfly from Pegwell Bay to their exit point at North Foreland/Foreness. I cannot change this, yet am happy to report that we do get our fair share of raptor movement in the skies above Vine Close and Newland's Farm. In the fourteen years that Bev and I have lived here, the only regularly occurring raptors that are missing from the garden list are Rough-legged Buzzard, Osprey and Black Kite! So you can see that we've been witness to some very special birds over the years. It is this time of year when working shifts can really pay dividends - starting at 14.00hrs every other week means that I have the mornings free for sky-watching. Assisted superbly by the local Herring Gulls, and their intricate network of early warning scouts, I am usually able to to be looking in the right direction when any of these migrants appear. If it is not a bird of prey and only happens to be a Grey Heron? (we also have Purple Heron on our garden list) I'm still able enjoy the show - a White Stork or a Crane? New for the patch list; it's a no lose situation.

Osprey, I still need for the patch/garden - I actually watched an Autumn migrant fly over
Fujifilm SIS a couple of years ago - just yards away from my self imposed patch boundary!
This one was in Scotland - where I expect I will see my only 2014 individuals?
Away from the avian spectacle, there is also the prospect of emergent insect populations and my ever growing interest in the bee species that are to be seen around our garden. It might well be the "closed season" but there is still plenty to occupy my simple mind.

I have just one garden record of Honey Buzzard - an August female.
This fresh juvenile was in Turkey - October 2012
Away from Margate Cemetery, Thanet Spring records are very uncommon


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