Following a summer lull I've been getting out a bit more. A quite impressive list too, if I'd actually seen the birds I'd been going for, but it turned out just a marginally interesting list.
18th August - Amwell (Hobby, Common Sandpiper, Red Kite x2) then King's Mead (Green Sandpiper).
24th there was much rain and a major fall on the E coast. I visited Amwell after all the action. There was a Garganey which was a very washed out buff, and a Wigeon. The next day I took a walk rund South Sawbo and had Lesser Whitethroat, Bullfinch, Blackcap, then over the Lower Sheering Road up towards Sheering itself there was Common Buzzard (a family party of 4), Spotted Fly and juv Whinchat.
26th August Hanningfield Res - 1 juv Black Tern, 1 juv Arctic Tern, 1 Greenshank, 1 Green Sandpiper, 0 WWBT!
1st September the new reserve at Thorley Wash held a Lesser Whitethroat + various commoner warblers, and a few Roach and a Pike in the river. Then a dog-walk in the afternoon in Pishiobury Park had a Spotted Flycatcher.
7th September repeat of the South Sawbo walk had uch the same plus 8 Skylark and 15 Linnets but no spot fly or whinchat.
7th pm at Rye Meads RSPB had 3 Green Sandpiper, 1 Snipe, 2 Wigeon, 2 Ruddy Shelduck, 2 Little Egret and a hobby.
14th September Pishiobury Park had another Spotted Flycatcher, then on ther 15th a visit to Pincey Brook (a flooded field near Hatfield Broad Oak) produced 30 Greylag Goose, some Teal and Snipe, but failed to produce the hoped for Ruff.
So, would any of this feature in MBYOW, given that these visits are often squeezed into an odd half hour when in MBYOW I'll have all day to go where I please? Well yes. Firstly, I expect there will still be a lot of squeezing in short trips. Then there's the context of the sightings. Local birds fit into a history of birds in that area, so sightings of, say, Meadow Pipit have a meaning in the local park they don't have on a day trip to Minsmere.
Finallyand for me most imprtant there's the views you get. Birds in the park, or for that matter at Rye Meads, are often close-too so you get good views. Watching terns at Hanningfield is a bit like watching bands at the O2, whereas local birds are like seeing bands down your local pub. Yes I was there, yes I can tick them, but did I really see them? The terns were dots in the distance. Perhaps the EWT should put big screens up and have remotely controlled cameras on a boat so we can all get good views. Although the Hanningfield list is the best, that's the one that probably won't make it into MBYOW.