Sunday, August 1, 2010
THE HOUR APPROACHES
It seems superfluous to yet again apologise for the long absence from these pages. Such is life! Much water has passed beneath the bridge since my last blog.
I originally came to this Blog in search of birding ideas for our forthcoming sojourn to the UK, to our former West Midlands stomping grounds in particular. At the time it remained a distant objective, something to keep simmering on the back burner while we got on with more mundane and immediate matters – like attending the recent “Wine on the Wharf” event at which some 400 different wines were available for tasting- varietal differences and from competing Australian [with a smattering of overseas] vineyards.
Suddenly it is no longer a distant engagement, something to merely pencil in on the wall calendar. All those preparatory months have gone. We are in August, our plane leaves Brisbane airport on 2 September!
And it has been both a learning and sobering experience. While the West Midlands remains our main focus, Fay, a keen amateur genealogist, has kith and kin on the central Welsh coastline and a favourite cousin who recently retired to Devon. The Blackwater Estuary, Essex, is one of those things I have to do before I drop off the perch.
It all went towards extending our birding outlook, while bearing in mind that on my last visit to the UK  I received a fair bollocking from my sisters for spending more time out in the field birding than I did with them!
It has also been interesting gauging the degree of assistance provided by various birders in those four areas to a forthcoming birding visitor. Devon we've decided to tackle alone. The Welsh have been noticeable by their absence; the best I received was a number of suggestions that I visit the websites. The West Midlands Bird Club [of which I am a member] has been outstanding in its efforts to provide me with several necessities. However, I have to acknowledge the best help has come from the local birders of Maldon [Blackwater Estuary] who have provided birdlist specifically for September and even scoured their locality to find suitable hotel/b&b accommodation for Fay and I.
Perhaps Fay and I will see one or two of you around the ridges while we’re out and about in spots such as Blithfield, Doxey Marshes, etc. You can’t miss us; we’re the ones with Zeiss binoculars and a KOWA telescope If you come within hearing range you may even pick up a slight twang of Strine.
Oh yes, I was also promoted at school in the interim.