Who am I?

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An individual, of no great importance, who is unable to 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!


Sunday 18 January 2015

Distraction and a conspiracy?

This morning, I recorded another three bird species, taking my total to 72 in 2015, whilst fishing the Little Stour. Barn Owl, Tawny Owl and Sparrowhawk were all new for the year list and I also enjoyed some spectacular views of Little Grebe and Grey Heron as I was quietly sat on the bank. Sadly, I still await that moment when a bite alarm signals a take whilst using a Mitchell 300 - surely it won't be too long? My logic, for being on the Little Stour, being based upon past experiences of The Thames - when the main river was carrying extra water, the quiet backwaters of the Mapledurham mill pool (so very similar to the confluence  of the Stour/Little Stour?) became a sanctuary for the pike. There was less suspended silt in the water and, obviously, the flow was very much reduced. Coloured and flavoured dead baits were always a good bet - so that's what I was using today! Didn't make the slightest difference, the river wasn't as swollen as I'd envisaged  - I didn't get a bite; my recent pike angling consistency is beyond question, therefore? Am I thinking too much and not focussing on the basics?  I didn't actually make up my mind to fish this venue until I'd loaded the car, the RMC being my only other option.

Not quite Mark Chidwick standard - a Barn Owl photographed along the R. Stour at Minster (2010)
The low temperature, constant drizzle and being alone did nothing to aid my enthusiasm, so at 10.30 hrs I was very happy to call it a day and head back home. I haven't given up hope of a pike or two from this venue; but will have to monitor the river levels more closely before I make any effort to return. The Steve Gale v's Stewart Sexton challenge has tip-toed into mid January, certainly not the full on charge I was expecting. However, just to ensure my Ladbrokes punt isn't a waste of £1k, I've decided to intervene and aid my southern brother's cause by sending a Mitchell 324 fixed spool reel to young Mr Sexton. If you ever bother to read his personal profile you'll see that a certain Chris Yates (him of record carp fame!) features in his favoured reading - and a recent e-mail exchange exhorted the prose of David Carl Forbes in a tome about chasing wild trout from small running waters. What else could I do? I just had to offer him a distraction, another outdoor pursuit which might take his eye off the prize, so Steve is victorious in the pan-listing challenge and my money is in the bank!

I've only got to get off my arse and get across to Reculver/Sandwich Bay in order to see a Snow Bunting
Strangely, if you remove plants from the equation, I am hoping to embark on a similar project for 2015. Moths will again feature in my plans, as the 125w MV is dusted down and prepared for another season in the garden. Birding has always been a key part of my outdoor enjoyment and I'm hoping to make more effort to get out to deliberately watch birds during the Spring and Autumn migration periods. I can see no reason why a target of 200 species shouldn't be a realistic goal?

A Dartford Warbler is a very realistic prospect if I bother visiting the coastal fringe during the Autumn.
Birding and angling, for me, have always been very compatible hobbies - it is impossible for me to go fishing without seeing birds. Kingfishers and Water Rails are standard fare for a winter pike session on the RMC - and then there's the unknown of "patch watching" - just about anything is possible if you give a site enough attention. Newland's Farm is little more than a cauliflower field, yet has produced some outstanding records over the past 14 years. For as long as I draw breath, I will continue to be amazed and amused by the wild creatures that share my space.
A Lapland Bunting on the footpath between home and work - one of two that spent time
around the Newland's Farm area in 2010/11


  1. Dyl - The tip-toeing may soon be over. First venture into the field for over a fortnight tomorrow!

  2. Hi Dyl, there is no tip toeing from me either, more of a plod. 76 species total today....I'm glad its not pan species, only moths and birds, I wouldnt stand a hope in hell!