The Lots and Jack Scout – A Birding Walk

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Black-headed gull.

It’s not that I went out specifically looking for birds. As usual I had my camera with me, but no binoculars*. It’s just that birds are relatively easily identified and so easily seen, at the moment particularly so, when they’re very busy and there are no leaves on the trees obscuring all of their activity.

*(Although I often think that I ought to start carrying a pair. And a magnifying glass and/or perhaps one of those insect specimen jars with a magnifying lid. And a kettle and stove, matches, water, teabags, milk. A snack perhaps. Maybe a tripod. A scope for more distant birds. A notebook and pen. Field guides. And presumably a mule with saddle bags laden with all of this paraphernalia.)

In the trees above the Cove there were blue tits and great tits. I think I was most pleased to see these…

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…starlings. Not everybody likes them I know, although I’m not really sure why not. I suppose they can be bullies on a bird table. Near where I photographed these birds, I once found a pair nesting in a hollow in a tree trunk and watched for a while as they flew back and forth in relay to feed their ravenous brood.

The woods have been busy with the chatter of birds of late. The fields are often busy too, but usually with gulls, jackdaws, oystercatchers – generally larger birds. I was a bit taken aback when, as I walked across the Lots and left the trees behind me, I could still hear the chirp of small birds.

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A small flock of pied wagtails, maybe about a dozen in total were busily picking over the field. This was probably the highlight of the walk – slowly making my way across the field, pausing now and then to have another go at photographing the constantly moving wagtails, who receded away from me just as fast as I advanced toward them.

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There was nobody about at Jack Scout, but some evidence of previous visitors on the limestone seat which overlooks the bay.

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I watched the sun setting and listened to the blackbirds and song-thrushes in the shrubs behind me adding musical accompaniment to the show.

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Out over the bay, I could hear the honking of geese. I looked in vain for a while, but then….

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Amazing how fluid the formation is….

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…these three shots taken in quick succession each showing a different pattern.

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Once the sun had dipped out of sight I was left with a wander home in the dying light.

I’ve finished reading Patrick Barkham’s ‘Badgerlands’ and I can recommend it. It’s more about the relationship between people and badgers than it is a straight study of badgers. If you read it, you will learn a great deal about badgers, and their role in the spread of bovine TB, but you’ll also meet scientists who study badgers, enthusiasts who feed badgers and watch badgers, conservationists who vaccinate badgers, farmers who support a cull of badgers and activists who aim to disrupt the cull, even a man who will eat badgers when they have been roadkilled. I think it’s fair to say that Barkham does his best to give an even-handed account.

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Haven’t had a robin picture for a while. This one was singing fiercely despite, or perhaps because of, the gathering gloom.

This is from the very last paragraph of the book…

Badger watching, dusk watching, was where beings of the day met beings of the dark and both types of creatures were transformed. Shadows lengthened, sounds sharpened and memories were awakened. It could be a golden time, a gloomy time or a drowsy time and yet it was as vital as listening to music through headphones with your eyes closed in the hot sun; it was a warm bath, a wet run, a cold swim; all those greedily taken sensory pleasures.

Good isn’t it?

I’m not always managing to find time for longer walks in the mountains at the moment, but I’m making an effort to get out in the evenings – not all of those walks will make it on to the blog, sometimes the weather hasn’t been kind for taking photos, a couple of the walks have been in near darkness in their entirety, but it’s enough to be getting out there and greedily enjoying some sensory pleasures!

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The Lots and Jack Scout – A Birding Walk

7 thoughts on “The Lots and Jack Scout – A Birding Walk

  1. Hi Mike , I loved this post….it made me chuckle on a super early Monday morning.
    Now the clocks have changed i’m you will enjoy lighter evening walks. Love the Robin singing in silhouette.

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      The clocks going back is a really big thing for me – I love the light evenings it brings and April, May and June are by far my favourite months of the year.

  2. Yep, evening walking is now on for me, or at least it will be once I’m free of Easter trips. Scotland and then hopefully North Wales. Another post to stir up my envy of the joys you have on your own doorstep 🙂

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      I’m hoping that I can get out in the evening pretty much every week between now and Towyn Farm – it probably won’t work out that way, but I intend to give it my best shot!

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      It’s a good read. He writes very well, but is a journalist rather than a scientist like Goulson, so its a different kind of book. A well-informed amateur perhaps. Have you read ‘The Butterfly Isles’ – I really enjoyed that, I think I would recommend that ahead of Badgerlands (although I did like both).

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