Who am I?

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!


Wednesday 25 March 2015

Calls in the night

I walked home, from work yesterday, at 22.00 hrs accompanied by the shrill contact calls of Redwings, as they passed, unseen, overhead. Arriving home, I grabbed a 1664 from the fridge and went out into the back garden. I reckoned that I was hearing a call every 10/12 seconds, but at one point - lasting two or three minutes at best - my guess that I was hearing 100/minute! How many birds were involved? I don't know, or care that much, I'm just happy that I was able to be part of the experience. I also heard a Curlew and, on a couple of occasions, Blackbirds. I remained outside until 23.00 hrs by which time the bulk of the passage had occurred it was left to a few stragglers to call out in the darkness. I went back inside feeling rather smug - I don't suppose that there were any other Thanet birders aware of this movement?
I'd been in conversation with Madeline, one of our neighbours, talking about the Common Buzzard migration, across Thanet, which is now a well established, and documented, occurrence. "I've never seen one!" being her input. I didn't see a single Redwing - doesn't mean it didn't happen. I recall an encounter with a flyover Stone Curlew, calling in the darkness, at Ashford. The county recorder requested a description? My desire to remain within mainstream birding was already teetering - this just confirmed why I had to walk away and leave it to those who wish to play this silly game.
We would be extremely fortunate to obtain this type of view from Dumpton. A Red Kite
in the Chilterns - the original reintroduction scheme which was the model for
the many others that followed. 
I also told Madeline that we'd have a fair chance of a Red Kite, or two, during the next fortnight/three weeks, weather conditions being favourable. I might as well have said that the Queen was coming round with an empty cup asking to borrow some sugar! Utter disbelief - "they live in Wales!" I smiled and explained about the various reintroduction projects, throughout the UK, and the resultant upsurge of sightings being a direct consequence of these successful initiatives. If you don't know - you don't know! If your personal interests are in different spheres why would you think that a spiralling mass of noisy Herring Gulls be anything other than just that?
Being alert to the signs, aware of my surroundings, is an aspect of my desire to enjoy, to the maximum, my outdoor time. It is a skill, or combination of skills, which has been learned/taught over a lifetime. Anyone, who desires, can acquire this knowledge - but, just as I have no desire to master the complexities of the internal combustion engine, there are many who have no interest in what scares the shit out of a Herring Gull!


  1. Great post Dyl - sums up all of this shit quite nicely!

    1. Thanks Steve - just one of those post ideas which occur as a direct result of chatting with local dog-walkers or my neighbours. That there are other inhabitants of this earth to whom natural history is just something David Attenborough does on tele shouldn't really be that much of a shock? Madeline's, open mouthed, disbelief was a particularly dramatic response, thus catalyst to my thought process. I will thank her when we next cross paths. All the best - Dyl

  2. I too heard all those Redwings last night Dyl (whilst kelping an eye on some very poorly attended moths traps) like you, my birds tailed off after midnight, they were piling over in the early part of the night. I was out there (on and off) again (after two hours kip) from c.3.30 till dawn, hardly hearing any more, though I did get 34 early morning flyovers down on Pegwell cliff top (all headed west) and there were c.15 grounded bird on the Country Park and another c.100 grounded in (what is left of) Stone Lees, early am. I had 1100 headed west to south west over the back garden here from 05.30 - 06.30 the day prior also 300 west just after dawn on Sunday morning. There weren't too much else amongst them, the odd Blackbird and Song Thrush plus 32 Fieldfare on Tuesday am. A single Red Kite went north over the estate @11.40 (as did a 6 Buzzards, 4 Sprawks and a Peregrine) today.

    Hope all's well Hippy ... Flip MnOtlimphTon

  3. Phil, - As all Thanet birders are well aware, there is a very Margate Cemetery/westerly bias to the general avian migration above this "Halloed Isle". Those Redwings of last night were an exceptional occurrence over Dumpton. I too, have had quite a few redwing records in the early mornings since last Wednesday (the day before the eclipse?)
    Two Common Buzzards at 09.30 hrs were the best I could do today, they came in low from Pegwell/St.Luke's and spiralled up before speeding off north. Great to hear from you and hoping all is well - Dyl