Saturday, November 18, 2006

Egrets, I've had a few...

It's all over! Fourteen years as Warden of Aberlady Bay Local Nature Reserve have come to an end and I am off to a new job.

I have loved this place. From the age of 9 or 10, visiting wonderful reserves in the NE of Scotland, this was the kind of job I always wanted, and to end up at such a great spot has been a birder's papradise!

Ok, there's been a few negatives. Folk who insist on letting their dogs charge about all over the place; strange men who insist on waving their bits around as soon as the sun comes out; the constant buzz of microlites and poor little rich kids in their little planes on a quiet spring day; people wandering through nesting waders or terns; a***holes who break into people's cars just so they can get their next fix....

But enough ranting! My colleagues have been really good friends, I've met some great folk out on site, and as for the birds....

White-billed Diver, Little Egret, Spoonbill, Snow Goose, American Wigeon, King Eider, Surf Scoter, Honey Buzzard, Black Kite, Montagu's Harrier, Red-footed Falcon, Crane, Kentish Plover, Lesser Sand Plover, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Western Sandpiper, White-rumped Sandpiper, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Buff-breated Sandpiper, Long-billed Dowitcher, Sabine's Gull, Forster's Tern, Short-toed Lark, Tawny Pipit, Marsh Warbler, Barred Warbler, Firecrest, Great Grey Shrike and Arctic Redpoll among others. 221 species in all.

Watching 20,000 Pink-footed Geese coming in to roost in October; hoping those Ringed Plover chicks will fledge; the chaos that ensues when the Osprey drifts north overhead in May; the Snipe dropping out of the clouds during an August rainstorm; trying to see that first Lesser Whitethroat of the year....

I hope my successor is the right person for the job, and enjoys similar wonderful experiences as I have had. As for Aberlady Bay, thank you. I will miss this place.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Back again

Sorry! It's been a while...

October didn't really deliver for me this year. Missed a few birds down the East Lothian coast, although I enjoyed Suffolk. On the Reserve, plenty birds, including 18,000 Pink-feet last week, as well as 2,700 Golden Plover, loads of duck and plenty other waders.

Suddenly though, it's got really cold. Maximum of 7C today, down ten degrees on two days ago. Guess I must be getting old?

However, I've not been out much recently. The end of an era approaches, as I'm about to leave the Reserve after 14 years working here, and start a new job! The paperwork I've got to cram in over the next couple of weeks is horrific, but I want to make sure that whoever inherits this place doesn't have an administrative nightmare to sort out!
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