Who am I?

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An individual, of no great importance, who is unable to the see the natural world as a place for competition, that was until Covid-19 intervened!. 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!


Monday, 14 May 2018

Chaos on the horizon and a few gems

It seems like an eternity has passed since we submitted our plans to Thanet Council for their approval. Our builder has finally been given the green light and the transformation project begins within the next fortnight. Bathroom and kitchen have been designed and purchased from our chosen suppliers and now all that is left is for Bev & I to clear the rooms, and loft space, in order for Kevin and the gang to do their stuff. I'm sort of excited, but admit that carnage before creation fills me with dread. It would appear that the bungalow will be uninhabitable for a short while as the bathroom is relocated. I've still got to go to work and, hopefully, remain on an even keel? I'll readily admit that I don't do stress very well - and this period has all the ingredients to provide bucket loads of the stuff. However, every cloud - as they say, I have made inroads into the loft clearance and discovered some long forgotten treasures as a consequence. A box of slides, some old diaries, which include the (rejected) September 28th 1999 Booted Eagle notes and field sketches, plus many other items which are able to transport me (& Bev) back to earlier times in our lives.

In 1999; being called a liar (for that is what the rejection of this sighting amounts to)
I was totally dejected. Birding politics having far more impact than any other
factor in this debate. The Kent vs Norfolk stuff was constantly in the background
and, as such, when Millington put together his chronological Booted Eagle
sightings, this imacculate juvenile was lumped with all the others despite being obviously
a separate individual and put into Room 101. Important? Not any more - it's on my Kent list!
BBRC - who are they and what part do they play in my birding? Zilch - I'm able to make my
own decisions without assistance from "job's worth" committee members!
This afternoon, I've been emptying my book shelves, packing away some incredibly old publications dating back to 1896 - Lloyd's Natural History, 14 volumes, leather bound, that allow an insight into the unravelling of our natural world as travel became more available. One of my absolute treasures is the five volumes of the 1963 version of "The Handbook" which still remains a viable id resource in 2018. Obviously knowledge has moved on, but this landmark publication still has much to offer the general field birdwatcher.
It can be of no surprise that my angling has, once again, become a casualty of the situation. I will get back out once the prep work has been completed and our lives return to some form of normality, although that is a very difficult concept to grasp in a Wrathall household!! With so much change in the offing, it is comforting to know that I have holidays already booked (and paid for) which will allow escape from reality during this period of upheaval. Guess what? There'll be Booted Eagle on my 2018 year list - that's a certainty! And it won't require a rarities panel to decide if it's acceptable either.


  1. Replies
    1. There will be light at the end of the tunnel - of that I'm sure! Dyl

  2. Dyl, it's difficult to see how that Booted Eagle could really have been rejected?
    Looks like a case of sheer jealousy on the part of the committee. Reasons for rejection? 'I didn't see it, so it didn't exist'.

    1. Ric, technically speaking, the record wasn't rejected but, instead lumped with all the other sightings of the Irish/West Country bird (a worn adult with many feathers heavily abraded) and placed into Category D - plastics & escapes! It was never given a fair chance to be judged on its own merit due to the Millington/Mullarney involvement - neither of whom have any role in record assessment, yet wield great influence on those who do.
      Dominic Mitchell (Birdwatch Magazine) spoke with Jack Chandler, my companion on that fateful day, and fabricated some story which included the line "we could see its' pale throat!" That's total bollocks as my field notes actually contain a line stating that the underside looked like the bird had been dipped, head first, into a pot of dye. A feature of juvenile, pale phase, Booted Eagles as I now know due to many trips to Menorca & Mallorca. The bit that really irritates is that no-one, even within Kent birding, ever contacted me. I was the bloody finder and it was my telescope (a Kowa TSN 823 with a 30x eye-piece) through which Jack and I spent, approx, twelve minutes studying this individual. If you look at my field notes there is a question mark next to a Peregrine entry - they were engaged in some type of territorial dispute, but I was looking at a Booted Eagle at the time and couldn't be distracted by such common fare - hence the lack of detail.
      Nearly twenty years have passed and, today, I couldn't give a toss about what is, and what isn't, on any official list. I'm so far out of the loop that it's embarrassing to recall the antics that were considered "normal" during that period of record chasing (and setting) county listing. Older and wiser - it has great meaning for both my birding and angling as I head towards my latter years. Obsession, as much fun as it provides, is not healthy for the soul and age is the great leveller as experience provides answers to the conundrums which drove us to such exuberant displays of misbehaviour in pursuit of silly hobbies. I'm there now, just took me a little longer than most? - Dyl

  3. I understand exactly where you are Dyl in the scheme of things.
    I used to think I was pretty 'full on' in pursuit of? well anything. But on reflection, it's clear that in a competitive sense I was a total light weight.
    The acceptance of birds to record committees was never a factor in my birding. I wasn't aware such things existed, and didn't care either. I do however remember being taken to task over something I'd found, that my description wouldn't be accepted by the committee. Really! I wasn't aware that I owed them anything. Puzzled that apparently without their approval, the bird I found didn't exist.

    If the birds only knew.

    1. Ric,
      I think that Gavin sums it up perfectly with his word "phasing". Things that we thought were important, at various stages of our journey through life, somehow become left behind or, at least, impose lesser influence on our priorities. The only lists/records that have any role within my own world are those personal ones, over which I am lord and master. If I have made a mistaken id, not zeroed the scales correctly, the only one I'm lying to is myself. My records are exactly that and are no longer a demonstration of prowess or ability; as they had been perceived (by me) in my formative years.
      Finding a "rare" bird or landing a record fish have no relevance in my life, although I'd enjoy the fall-out should I ever land, and not submit, a pike in excess of Tommy Morgan's 47 lbs 11 oz Loch Lomond fish - as recognised by the previous incumbents of UK angling "records" Never gonna happen, but still a scenario which makes me smile! - Dyl