Last week was busy in a variety of ways and for no good single reason. And so I was looking forward to Friday, when I was to help with some goose monitoring work, plotting of flight lines etc , not least because I would also be celebrating my 72 nd birthday via a full day of field work. Good planning I thought!
At 0600 hours it was raining! It continued raining all day until 1700 hours without respite! Coupled with all this was a blustery F6 wind which swept said rain across the landscape in a veil of permanently swirling mist, which lowered the visibility significantly. Great ! It wasn't all disaster, as a mid morning lull to activities provided an opportunity to call in the local RSPB office at Gruinart, and, after a change of clothes, have a chat and a cup of tea and pick up some WeBS forms. Another chat nearby with Martin Scott and Adam Cross, and a catch up on gossip, before launching yet again into slightly improving weather that wasn't bad enough to call things off , but bad enough to frustrate things badly!!! Notice , folks, I'm not talking birds here, just the intent to look at them!! Barnacle Geese stoically fed in exposed fields, occasionally raising their heads and leaning forward in a very streamlined pose to offset the wind.. I just cowered behind a wall, got wet (AGAIN) and swore (frequently! ).
Whilst interactions were at a minimum the day was not altogether lost. Suddenly, at 1700 hours, there was a break in the cloud to the west and things improved quite markedly in a local context. A flock of Barnacle Geese I had in my sights which, up to now, had fed in the lee of a fence line to gain a little shelter, suddenly began to call, moved into the field a little and took off in unison. What!! They were flying in altogether the wrong direction to that I'd have anticipated, even put money on! They moved to an area which I've suspected they might use as a roost occasionally, so this was at least a partial confirmation that hunch might be correct, and something that can be checked later. Not quite the birthday present I'd have best hoped for, but it lifted the spirits and proved that sometimes the pain and gain expression has some truth in it. This was the only positive product from 6-7 hours of observation, but worth having!! As a 72 year baptism day, then I live in fear of what a Centenary celebration might bring!