Thursday, 20 August 2009

The Perfect Job...19th August

If I had a pound for every time someone has said to me "you must have the perfect job for your hobby" I would be a rich man. Sometimes I don't think people understand what I do and that I just get paid to go birding. I wish! It's true that with my job I can do a lot of birding whilst doing my job, but if I am surveying a farm my head is often buried in a map, or I'm colouring the map or counting the number of woody species in a hedgerow, or perhaps counting the number of broad-leaved plants per square metre in the sward or even checking the condition of a traditional farm building. But I am outdoors I suppose and that gives me the opportunity to see birds.

Today was no exception and I was surveying farmland close to Beacon Fell, Inglewhite and Cockerham. I didn't see anything exciting but it was just good to be out wandering about in the sunshine. In all three areas hirundines were the order of the day and small numbers of House Martins and Swallows were constantly in the air. Some of them drifting south at a leisurely pace and others probably still catching airborne insects to feed young from late broods.

Some of the farmland I surveyed near Beacon Fell

When carrying out these surveys for Higher Level Stewardship applications there are certain species of birds, mammals, invertebrates, plants etc that you have to record. Most of the birds tend to be birds on the red or amber list and some of the species I had to record today were Kestrel and Song Thrush. The commonest mammal that I record is the Brown Hare and in fields at Inglewhite I had three.

Land at Cockerham

Also at Inglewhite I had a couple of Stock Doves and a few Goldfinch.

Stock Dove courtesy of Kane

On Saturday I am going over to Ireland for a week. And before you say it, I am not going seawatching in western Ireland unfortunately, but having a holiday in Northern Ireland with 'her indoors' visiting some of my relatives. But you know me, if the opportunity arises, and it will, I'll be out birding. Mind you having said that I think that we birders are birding wherever we are as long as we are awake! Some of you might say that you bird when you're asleep also! Anyway, the point of mentioning this is that it will be unlikely that I will have access to a computer for the week I am away so I will update my blog on my return and hopefully there will be a few tales of birds to tell!

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