Saturday, 7 November 2009

Heaven...... and Hell!

TUB and the Skyscraping birders on Tower 42 (Russell Spencer)

View from the Tower (Russell Spencer)
Pre-dawn (Russell Spencer)
The heavenly part of yesterday was the rooftop vigil on Tower 42 that finally happened. It was an amazing experience and we were totally looked after by security men Bradley and Stuart. As dawn dawned, it soon became apparent that we wouldn't be seeing much in the way of the anticipated Woodpigeon passage due to the low misty cloud.

My team included Birdguide's Fiona Barclay and top viz miggers, Des McKenzie and Mark Pearson. During the 4 hours that we were on the roof they picked up c250 Woodpigeon, 1 very distant Little Egret, a Peregrine below us at The Barbican and a Grey Wagtail over our heads - over 600 feet above the city streets.

This venue has so much potential, I can imagine us returning in the spring to witness some interesting raptor passage. It's an incredible vantage point from which the view across the whole of London was totally impressive. Unforgettable!

The hell part of the day I experienced sitting in bumper to bumper traffic in pouring rain on the A12 heading to my talk in Chelmsford for the Essex Birdwatching Society. A 90 minute journey ended up taking over 3 hours. I arrived over an hour late knackered, sick and fed up. My mood lightened when I walked into the room to be confronted by a load of patient Essex birders who applauded me as I entered the room. They had been waiting over an hour for my arrival. I gave an abridged version of my talk that went down well.

Today, I still had a sore knee at football and whilst breakfasting with some of my fellow ballers I received a text from Scrubber Rob Ayers telling me that the Ring Ouzel is still in Chats Paddock. It was only one of two ouzels reported today in the country.

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