Boulmer Birder

A recommendation from the small hours when I really should be a-bed and dreaming of what birding the autumn has in store for me (strange to relate, this is not flowery prose for prose sake – I really did dream this last night: JLI and I were out birding on the isle, which had remarkably added some olive groves and sun-drenched mountainsides to its landscape. Depressingly the dream did not deliver a nice Orphean Warbler or similar, but instead I recall us looking at 3 Kestrels perched on an electricity pylon. A great anticlimax, and hopefully not an omen).

Anyway! A recommendation. This week I shall mainly be reading Boulmer Birder – a great blog with some fabulous photos of various dragonflies, darters and demoiselles. And rats, if they’re your thing. I once spent ages knee-deep at the edge of Radipole trying to fish out a kitten tied up in a Tesco carrier bag and thrown into the water to drown. You could hear the poor little mite mewing in distress as the bag sank lower and lower into the water. As I used my fully extended tripod as a boat hook to snag the bag and bring it to shore, I felt the warm glow of compassionate virtue. It mattered not that I could no longer feel my legs below the knees as the cold January water cut off my circulation. Nor that the Scaup I had been watching had long since buggered off. No! I was the saviour of a tiny ickle kitten.

I got the bag to shore, climbed up to the pavement, and realised the bag was not tied shut, merely badly tangled. I gently pulled it open on the pavement, my hands ready to catch the terrified catling lest it bolt in fear into the busy main road. Instead a soaked and pissed off brown rat tumbled out, lunged to bite my hand, swore viciously at me in rat, and then hunched it’s way straight back down the bank and into the water. Bastard.

Boulmer Birder spares them. He is a better man than I. Since Radipole, I have killed dozens of the filthy brutes. They used to terrorise my chickens, and gnaw holes in my shed. Boulmer Birder is kinder, clearly not troubled with chickens or holes in his shed, and he takes a mean photograph. Enjoy!