Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Sleep duty

A male Ring Ouzel (Stephen Daly)
After a fairly busy recent schedule today was going to be a down day for me in order to regroup before picking up the baton again for a flight to Scotland tomorrow and a few days of public appearances. I woke up at 6am, as per usual, programmed by the migration season and the usually overwhelming desire to visit The Scrubs in the perennial quest for that unusual migrant.

Instead, I shut my eyes for a further snooze. A text buzzing on my phone interrupted my meeting with the dream weaver. It was from fellow Scrubber Rob Ayers who was quick to tell me that I had just missed a brief visitation from my favourite bird - the Ring Ouzel. The bird, an immature or female, was momentarily seen nervously surveying the scene from the pinnacle of some trees outside the notorious Wormwood Scrubs Prison.

There was little point me rousing from my bed. Why? Rouzels on my patch usually stay for fractions of time, as this bird did. The male that I was lucky enough to glimpse in the grassland one dull April morning this year was in view for all of 50 seconds before it too melted away. We have seen this elusive thrush every year for the past nine and as I had already seen my April bird the urge to steam over to the scene of the crime was easier to resist.

I rolled over. It was time to dream again. This time about white-gorgeted Jailbirds.

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