Thursday, January 17, 2013

Sabbatical Update

Firstly, many thanks for all the calls, text messages and emails, having written off my car in the same week a few years ago the general consensus is that ice and me don't mix that well at the start of the year!

My recovery is going well thanks to my fantastic wife and if I can come up with a decent method of lying down without suffering pain I may even get a good nights sleep soon. Oh and yes I must also say a big thank you for the help from the guys at the marina. Being currently frozen in with the water off on the pontoons and the heating on 24/7 depleting my fuel and on-board water stocks it's not a good time to be laid up. Of course I'll get to know who my real friends are when the toilets are full?

On the equipment front both my lens and camera are now on route to the repair shops and so I wait in anticipation of some better news. Anyway the break from birding has given me an opportunity to catch up on some reading and with my report on Amphibians and Reptiles now due for the 2012 Brandon Marsh Report I've plenty to concentrate on before I begin crawling the walls.

Gatekeeper Seen  During Brandon Transect
Having been part of the Brandon Marsh butterfly surveys, run in conjunction with Butterfly Conservation last summer, I read with interest about an increase in the numbers of grass feeding species in 2012. It seems that despite 2012 being the UK's second wettest year on record, a number of butterfly species enjoyed a bumper year, a study suggests. Overall, the survey showed last year was a washout for UK butterflies. But grassland species, such as the Meadow Brown, Ringlet and Gatekeeper, benefited from "substantial grass growth" in the wet conditions. Recorders counted more than 18,500 meadow brown butterflies - almost twice as many as in 2011. You can read the entire article here on the BBC website, although sadly it's not all good news.

Finally, congratulations to some of my Canadian birding buddies who are currently on a major twitch, in fact a first for Canada no less! A Red-flanked Bluetail is currently showing in New Westminster, SE of Vancouver and thanks to a very shy Derek Killby, who refused a TV interview, for this recording of the event!