Monday, 3 January 2011

Around the harbour

A small flock of Sanderling and Dunlin were feeding on Shore Road, Sandbanks early this afternoon, despite repeated flushing by dog-walkers, oblivious not just to the birds, but to the crouching man with a 400mm lens nearby. Criticism of them is prevented by my New Year's resolution to be more positive about our four-legged friends and their owners. They do, after all, provide a valuable social service - who else would find all the corpses hastily disposed of in secluded beauty spots?

Moving clockwise around Poole Harbour, several small flocks of Black-necked Grebe and a couple of Common Scoter graced Studland Bay. Despite failing light there was just time to catch up with a small flock of White-fronted Geese - 18 by my count - mingling with Greylags at Bestwall RSPB before a much smaller flock of tetchy children insisted on returning home.

Come to think of it, why don't birders find more cadavers? We're out early (though not before dog walkers, evidently), scouring the countryside with expensive optics - but how often do you hear 'birdwatcher discovers body' in the news? Is it that we're scanning distant horizons rather than what's under our noses? And is that why I can never find Jack Snipe? Or perhaps we're just too embarrassed to admit we're birders - 'yes, officer, I was out bir...err, jogging...' My wife says most birders wouldn't bother reporting a body unless it was a strandline corpse being fed off by an Ivory Gull. That's a message I'd like to see on RBA.

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