A month dominated by House Sparrows and the incredible numbers using the garden feeding station. A high percentage of juveniles suggested a successful local breeding season and I regularly witnessed in excess of sixty individuals on, and around, the garden and am confident that well over one hundred birds were present on many occasions. It was like being back in Hertfordshire when I was a child in the 1960's and House Sparrow flocks were commonplace around the autumn stubble fields.
Carp fishing was a struggle, although I did manage a beautiful little wild mirror, from a tiny drain, which I was very pleased about. My regular camera, a Canon EOS 400d, finally gave up the ghost and was replaced by an even older model, a 350d, but I also started to use a Fuji Finepix bridge camera for most of my fishing and insect images with some pleasing results as I got used to this new toy.
I think that the highlight of the whole month was Bryn catching a gudgeon! A species which I haven't seen for many a long year, but one that was at the very beginning of my own discovery of the joy of angling.
The first anniversary of my father's passing wasn't made any easier when Bev's parents came to stay with us after her mum had been discharged from hospital. The stress caused by aging parents must be pay back for all the grief you caused them as a child? Four adults in our bungalow didn't work very well and, despite social services making a token appearance, nothing was going to change if we couldn't get them back to their own place. A process which was to take eight weeks! I was the lucky one, I could go to work, Bev had to be on call 24/7.
|Taken on a floating crust! My biggest Ide must remain an unknown weight due to my own stupidity|
A logistical nightmare, we were extremely fortunate that Bev's brother, Gary, was able to help with caring for his parents whilst Bev and I flew off to Kefalonia to join, once again, The Saoulas Massive in Lourdas (Lourdata in Greek). Probably the most un-explainable quirk of fate that has ever happened in my life! Quite how this group of people happened to turn up in the same place, at the same time (Sept 2015), and find themselves friends, is truly remarkable. The fact that the bonds are so strong as to keep us going back, for more, suggests something much deeper is involved than sunshine holiday blinkers. We all have our own space and time, yet it is the unity that makes the holidays what they are - bloody amazing!
|Group photo - spot the late arrivers! Sadly Steve & Sue were elsewhere, probably eating?|
|Leon and Pauline celebrating their 20th Wedding Aniversary|
|Carrie-Anne and" Harvey" - why did she marry him? (It will become clear later, the bloody scoundrel!)|
|Too many Mythos!|
Start of the traditional pike season, although the weather wasn't particularly conducive to such activity in my opinion. We'd had some change in our own circumstances, as Bev's parents had been allowed to return home, with the blessing, and under the watchful eye, of Kent Social Services. The local carp puddle continued to dominate my angling effort as I sought to extract a decent perch from the larger venue. I managed a two pounder, but nothing more, although I have to admit that I enjoyed myself during the sessions I spent at the club fisheries.
|Unable to do the perch justice - it just scraped 2 lbs|
|A 5 lbs 2 oz male tench from the local club fishery. It's been a long time since a tench got me so excited!|
Pike fishing starts in earnest and, very quickly, it becomes clear that my tactics are on the right track. Out on the marsh I am catching regularly, with low doubles being frequent visitors to the landing net. It all got a little topsy-turvy as I'd actually started out the month intending to target the eels. First bite and, after a spirited battle, I got bitten off by a decent pike and everything was turned on its' head. I then deliberate set my stall to catch pike after dark and what a result. I can't make any conclusions, based upon my results, thus far, yet feel that there is an awful lot of good learning opportunity within this concept. I ended the month with twenty-six pike and two eels for my troubles - I was smashing it!
|House Sparrow central - feeding station action|
We're only three weeks in, so I'm not too sure if I should be writing a summary? It's not been too bad. I've managed my first pike from the River Stour and "semi - twitched" an Iceland Gull, in Ramsgate Harbour plus I've stumbled upon Great White Egret five times, what's going on?
To put the cherry on the cake, a social in The King's Arms - Otterton, Devon, provided the cement with which all these bricks are held together. The Saoulas Massive Christmas bash - unreal, except it actually happened!
|Terrence is mesmerized by the festive bauble|
|"Harvey" trying it on with my good lady - why did you say yes Carrie-Anne?|
|Pissed were we?|
|Far to young to be subjected to this type of behavior!|
|I'm not sure who was more wasted? The camera man or Steve?|