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A Bold Confession
by Clint Wayne
2007-11-29 10:02:31
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My family have always suspected it, but since my childhood I have to admit that I have been living a lie. I know I look the same dressed in my customary shorts and T-shirt and I know I sound the same prattling on about my beloved ‘Toon’. I still do the Daily Mail crossword everyday, still go down to ‘The Nook’ every Friday for my favourite tipple and still tell loads of world weary jokes, but, like those SAS Officers who secretly dress in women’s underwear, there is a real me that wants to shout from the rooftops and through Ovi I am now ready to come out of the closet and divulge my secret to the world at large.

I am obsessed with Tits. Yes, I adore Great Tits, Blue Tits and even Bearded Tits in fact I love all of our feathered friends. Yes I am a ‘Twitcher’. There is no greater pleasure for me than roaming the woodlands, river banks and marshes of England dressed in hideous clothes blending into the countryside with my ‘bins’ hanging proudly around my neck ready to zoom in on the little fellow twittering away on a swaying twig.

Some holidays and weekend breaks are booked solely for the purpose of viewing a particular species. Through the years my lady and I have been delighted in spotting Kingfishers, Yellow Wagtails and Dippers feeding in the fast flowing rivers of the Yorkshire Dales.

On warm summer days we have viewed Curlew, Lapwing, Wheatear and Pipits out on the barren Moors with Common Buzzards soaring high searching for prey. We have ventured to find Pied Flycatchers, Redstart and Red Kite gliding on the air currents above the Brecon Beacons in Wales.

We have enjoyed Knots, Sandpipers, Grebes, Heron, Shelduck and numerous other wildfowl feeding at Rutland Water while in the surrounding woodland Tree Creepers, Nuthatch and Linnet search for insects while encapsulating an unexpected treat when we inadvertently disturbed a roosting Long Eared Owl that elegantly took flight.

We have, as a family, tramped the foothills of the Pennines and even faced frightening elements traversing stormy seas off the Scilly Isles to catch sight of Gannets, Razorbills and the intriguing Puffins.

Wandering round our local RSBP reserve at Pulborough Brooks my lady and I never get bored catching sight of the ‘Usual Suspects’ that frequent our hedgerows and you never know when your heart will be sent into a flutter as it was a couple of weeks ago when we spied a Stonechat at the London Wetlands Centre. We were there with my son and lovely new daughter-in-law, a recent and loyal convert who has also caught the bug.

‘Normal’ people must stroll through their local woods in complete ignorance without witnessing a thing, but to a ‘Twitcher’ the faintest rustling of a bush, a quick flash of colour or a tsee-see-chuchuchuch song coming from a nearby Hawthorn tree sends us into urgency to locate the source.

Although as in life we have many residents, birds seem to have controlled immigration so to speak with a one in, one out policy and it is often these migratory birds that capture our interest as the Swifts, Swallows and Martins have now departed our shores for warmer climates travelling thousands of miles to Africa and we are now welcoming our winter visitors of Bewick and Whooper Swans, Redwings, Fieldfare and assorted Geese that have been highlighted this week with the upbeat ‘Autumnwatch’ on our television screens, but the downside of alleged carriers of ‘Bird-Flu’.

Even at home our garden is awash with assorted feeders offering all sorts of delicacies to our daily regular visitors. A normal Sunday morning viewing from our Conservatory will see Chaffinches, Greenfinches and Sparrows on the sunflower hearts, Great, Blue and Coal Tits feeding on the peanuts and a family of colourful Goldfinches munching through the niger seeds. Every now and then a lightening fast Sparrow Hawk will swoop from nowhere sometimes making a successful raid but often missing out. Blackbirds, Song Thrushes and Collared Doves are always on call along with Britain’s favourite Robin who proudly adorns our Christmas cards. Every now and then there is a surprise in store particularly in the winter months when a passing Blackcap, Reed Bunting, Willow Warbler or Greater Spotted Woodpecker calls by to say a grateful hello.

Our garden is full of Bird Nest Boxes one even wired up with ‘Bird-Cam’ to our kitchen T.V. so we may secretly intrude upon the rearing of a new generation. At past houses our boxes have even attracted nesting Kestrels and Tawny Owls. It is proudly our life.

Bird watching is seen as nerdy, anorak and completely uncool, but brings peace and tranquillity in an ever increasingly hectic world. This quirky British pastime brings soaring spirits and endless enjoyment as we trample over the green fields of England in search of that perfect moment.

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Thanos2007-11-29 22:35:36
Clint, I must admit that you confused me a bit in the ...beginning of your articles ;D

Asa2007-11-30 09:15:12
Did you also think Clint was admitting to covert transvestitism? Hahah!

Clint2007-11-30 19:36:38
One bold confession at a time chaps!!

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