After posting my offering, of yesterday, I felt a bit uneasy. I'd read it through to Bev, in the hope that she would pick up on anything too offensive or outrageous. She thought it was okay and I pressed the publish button still unsure if it was the right thing to do? My issue was with the obvious fact that I'm no longer actively involved in birding, at any level beyond that of casual observer. Should I offer an opinion? My blog, do what I like, so sod it! I packed the van with a bit of kit and headed off out onto the flatlands for an afternoon/evening session with the rod. Because it's over a mile and a half between my parking space and where I'm actually fishing, I took the minimum required, using the barrow to avoid excessive wear and tear on my arthritic joints.
I'm after a specific fish but, because of the chance of catching a sizeable carp is an ever present possibility the kit is biased towards strength, not finesse. The huge ammounts of vegetation, both on and below the surface, have already cost me several good fish. It was a beautiful afternoon, although a 40 mph SW wind ensured I kept a long-sleeved shirt on even in the blazing sunshine. Bait in position, alarm on and the indicator resting on my line there was nothing better to occupy my time than scanning the marsh with my binoculars to see what was about. It didn't take more than a quick glance to realise that there was a significant movement of Sand Martins and Swifts taking place across the area. Next thing I know there are two adult Mediterranean Gulls steadily moving south almost directly overhead. What didn't I take with me? You got it - my long lens. Beautiful light and all I can do is sit and stare. I rang Bev to check if we'd had a parcel delivered, we had, and I told her of my predicament. She just laughed, which was very sympathetic I thought. Call over, I picked up my binos again and straight away an adult male Peregrine came into focus as it passed within 50m of my swim then, just to take the piss, a superb adult Raven flew low over the drain. My views through the optics making it seem as if I could have reached out and stroked it! And so it continued all the time there was daylight. A tatty looking adult female Marsh Harrier hunted the field directly behind me, a Hobby chased dragonflies further along the drain. There was a second Raven, scores of Lapwings, a distant Little Egret, six more Mediterranean Gulls (4 ads, a 2nd summer & a juv) and my very conservative estimates of 520 Sand Martin and 60 Swifts don't really do justice to the sheer spectacle of the passage I witnessed as pulse after pulse of these migrants passed me by. I've been playing around with various bait options, recently, and have settled on worms for the time being. At 19.30 hrs my alarm sounded, which in itself is a minor miracle, and the indicator rose towards the rod. My strike met with firm resistance but any joy was quickly replaced by a heavy sigh as an eel rolled on the surface of the drain. It weighed little more than 2 lbs, so a quick record photo and back it went leaving my net and sweater covered in pungent snotty slime - oh joy! The only other sighting worthy of merit was that of my first, Kent, Brown Hawker of 2021. I saw one in Tim's back garden last week up in Hertfordshire.
That's about it really, nothing much else to report beyond a few garden observations. Still a few swifts around, 17 yesterday and 14 today, although some will be breeding birds from the colony in St. Luke's Church? House Sparrow numbers are starting to build with flocks of fifty plus birds being seen around the gardens. Goldfinches have had a good breeding season, with many juveniles visiting the feeding station which has also attracted a few Chaffinches and Greenfinches which is always nice.
Whilst looking at some hoverflies, on the hanging baskets, I spotted the first Gatekeeper of the year sun bathing on one of our buddleias. Casual observer - yeah that's what I am.