January 31, 2006

What are you looking at?

Another morning at Ferry Meadows and a disctinct sense of déja-vu whilst I was counting Snipe. An elderly couple enquired what I was looking at and again, I asked if they would like to have a look for themselves. That's now three people in the last week that I've managed to get Snipe on their yearlists for them. They were all terribly impressed by the birds though- and why not- they are handsome creatures.

A little further on, a group of three (elderly) ladies asked me: ''Excuse me, what is that duck? Its different.''

''They are Shoveler.'' I replied. ''So-called because of their shovel-like bills.''

After thanking me and upon everyone agreeing what a fine-looking bird the male is, one lady proceded to ask if I'd seen all the 'Ring-necked Ducks' on the main lake. I politely corrected her and pointed out that they were Tufted Ducks, despite what her bird book may have indicated. Ring-necked Ducks.......flocking in North Cambridgeshire.........as they do.

I really don't mind being questioned by folk if it adds a little extra dimension to their walk and perhaps provokes an interest in the birds around them. I just wish the same were true of the majority of today's youths. They just don't seem inquisitive and wander around smoking, spitting, littering and swearing- the **** ing little shits.

My small act of kindness was duly repaid a while later as I managed to relocate the long-staying Hawfinch, sitting majestically sentinel-like atop a tree as all the other lesser finches hurried about in the branches and leaf litter below- he certainly did seem to have a haughty look about him.

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