Lade - mild, cloudy, nw 2 - 0700hrs - Following heavy overnight rain a circuit of the local patch was predictably wet underfoot, but with plenty of bird song from the usual Cuckoos, Skylarks, warblers, finches and thrushes. The sky over north lake was thick with Swifts, plus all three species of hirundines, and several patches of the parasitic plant Dodder were noted on Wood Sage.
Elsewhere, the first Black-headed Gull chicks had hatched, while Med Gull, Sandwich and Common Terns, 40 Curlews, 30 Barwits and a Knot were all present.
ARC - 1600hrs - A wander down to Screen hide produced more Swifts, Common Terns and hirundines over the lake and a pair of Oystercatchers with two small juvs barely a week old. Also on the water a decent selection of wildfowl: Pochard, Gadwall, Shoveler and a drake Garganey, plus six Little Egrets.
With the rain hammering down yesterday evening I thought I`d give Springwatch a look on BBC2. Now in its 10th season the circus has moved across country from Ynys-hir, on the west coast of Wales, to the RSPB reserve at Minsmere, all "10 square miles" of it, apparently. So you know what`s coming, lots of shots of Avocets, Bitterns, Marsh Harriers and Stone Curlews, which is great, and of course plenty of footage of Badgers and Blue Tits, which is ok, I suppose... dudes love `em... now, "stop that sort of talk straight away" I hear you say, and quite right too, that was churlish of me...
However, I must confess to having mixed feelings on this show over the years, although I was impressed with the nest finding abilities of persons unknown and camera work on breeding Water Rail and Gropper last spring.
So, what of the first nights performance, 1/12, well, let`s take a look at the presenters. The trio at Base Camp Minsmere comprised Michaela Strachan who came across as very light weight and twice lost her way; she also used the word "adorable" way too many times when describing, yep, you`ve guessed it, Badgers and Blue Tits, plus some, "adorable" Ringed Plover chicks, which have probably been snaffled by a Herring Gull or a rampant dog by now - there I go again, must stop this negativity... She also looked in awe of the leader of the gang, Mr Chris Packham, who baled her out when floundering. So, a slow start for Michaela, scoring 6/10, must concentrate harder in future and by episode 12 she may have sorted herself out.
Ok, the second of the trio, and mercifully sent out into the wilds of Masai Minsmere, was the cringingly dreadful Martin Hughes-Games (can you really take anyone seriously with a double barrelled surname!) who gamely (get it!) was holding court on the shingle beach and prattling on about the threat of German Panzer tanks landing on the shingle in WW2 and destroying the flora and fauna - I kid you not dear reader! So, as in previous series he continues to be the `silly presenter` and gets 2/10, there`s no hope for this bloke, I reckon he`ll just get sillier as the show progresses.
Anyhow, moving onto the final member of the trio, the Governor himself, Mr Chris Packham, and at last someone who not only know`s what he`s talking about, but knows how to get his point across - and let`s face it anybody who chooses Billy Bragg`s, A New England, in his play list for Desert Island Discs is all right by me, a resounding 10/10 for the boss.
The final member of the gang is Welshman Iolo Williams reporting from north-west Scotland on Sea-eagles, Otters and that kind of thing, who probably has the best job of the lot. While I like his enthusiasm I`m afraid he`s not a natural presenter, particularly when he has to ad-lib, but still, he may improve with practice and gets a generous score of 7/10. Anyhow, the wildlife up there should speak for itself.
So, what about the content, well its the usual kind of fare, eavesdropping on the birds and the bees, both live and with plenty of pre-recorded stuff. All joking aside though there is often a nugget or two even for the cynics (what me? no, never) amongst us to enjoy and it looks as though the Governor`s quest to find out what`s happening to `our` Cuckoos in deepest Africa should be watchable, even if it eventually, or rather inevitably, does transpire that the likely cause of their demise is the usual combination of habitat destruction, and a burgeoning human population killing everything in sight in order to feed themselves and reproduce more and more horrible humans.
Anyhow, that`s enough for now, not really sure where this post is going, so I`ll pull up stumps, and as episode two is on soon, and its raining again, I`m off to get me fix of Springwatch. Love it!