March 03, 2006

Scatter my Ashes on The Lodge Plateau

It's good to be back. As I've mentioned in earlier posts, I love the place. As Spring draws near, my sense of anticipation grows; it's hard work birding there, harder work than the work itself, but the setting is simply beautiful.

Every afternoon, I eschew the delights of the staff canteen and go for a stroll instead. A viewing point at The Lodge looks out over the Greensand Ridge on to disused gravel pits known as Warren Villas- and it is here that I hope, one day, the biggie will drop.

On Thursday I wandered over and was lucky enough to find a Little Egret coming in to roost. I was fortunate to pick it up at eye level (about 100 feet up) as it circled the pit before dropping in- I was grilling a Common Gull as it came fortuitously into 'scope view.

Friday afternoon I was there again with my colleague Richard, who commented ''We haven't seen much this week apart from gulls and geese'' when almost immediately I picked up a Barn Owl hunting over the rough grassland- a good record for The Lodge. Certain birds always lift my spirits and Barn Owl is certainly one of them. Sometimes I wonder if I get more pleasure seeing birds myself or helping others see them and sharing their excitement.

Back at my desk I sent Katie and Mark an email, but unfortunately they were in a meeting about birds sneezing so couldn't get out to see it. Barn Owls are creatures of habit so hopefully next week they will be able to add the species to their Lodge lists.

So that's two different Barn Owls this week, three bird days in total. And to round it off, 23 Siskins flew overhead in the Garden and settled obediently in a silver birch.

I wish every week could be like this one. Birds of the week:

Gtr White-fronted Goose (35)
Little Owl (2)
Barn Owl (2)
Green Sandpiper
Male Sparrowhawk in undulating display-flight
Little Egret
Siskin (23+ other fly-overs)

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