Thursday, 15 October 2009
Plastic Birds, Dead Ducks, Moths, Jokes
Yesterday, after the Shrike twitch, I had a quick look at Staines Reservoir. It was exactly as I remember it - massive with the endless causeway, crap viewing over the south basin and nothing unexpected on the north basin. I did twitch Staines Res once for a Wilson's Phalarope, and I've seen Black Redstart, winter grebes and divers here, but nothing noteworthy yesterday. I then headed the short distance to Virginia Water for some plastic birding and a pleasant walk before hitting the motorways - a bit like calming down in the chillout room during a night out clubbing. There's actually some decent wood around this park if you get away from the dog-walkers and main paths. Jay, Nuthatch, Great Spot, various tits and finches all noted. Plenty of Mandarin about but mostly out of range, though this pair was typically tucked away discretely in an overhanging bough against the near bank. However, the main reason for going there was to get good close views of Ring-necked Parakeets. I really don't care what anyone else thinks about them - I think they're great. Bright green squawking birds that can be really hard to find when they are quiet (which is rarely!). A few years ago I visited a huge winter roost at Esher Rugby Club of up to 2000 - one of the funniest birding spectacles imaginable. I found a load yesterday eating sweet chestnuts. With the crap light though, and them being high up, all I could get was rubbish shots. The sweet chestnuts were raining down from trees all around - felt like I needed a hard-hat. After this interlude, and a quick stop at Staines McDonald's, I hit the M25/M1 return. Five Red Kites seen, only two Common Buzzards. Before going home I thought I'd have a quick look at Swithland Reservoir. Plenty of Gadwall, Shoveler and Tufteds but not a lot else other than the usual gaggle of gulls and geese loitering for hand-outs and a male Peregrine in the usual tree. One of the Mallards on the causeway road didn't seem too interested in the bread being offered by the visiting blue-rinsers. The garden traps last night yielded another superb Merveille du Jour - hopefully this will become an annual species to look forward to. Not too many moths overall, but four new species for the year which were a slightly tatty Brick that I didn't photograph, and these: Juniper Carpet - I usually see this as being the end of the season for garden trapping, but this year I'll keep it going a bit to try and get Figure of Eight, Sprawler and December Moth again. Dark Chestnut Yellow-line Quaker My mobile has been buzzing all week with completely tasteless and unsavoury Stephen Gately jokes that you can't help but laugh at. But I'm not sharing them here! Have a chuckle at these instead. A sensitive young man called Ron wanted to buy a Christmas present for his new girlfriend. They hadn't been seeing each other for very long and she lived a considerable distance away. He consulted with his sister and decided after careful consideration, that a pair of good quality gloves would strike the right note, not too romantic and not too personal. Off he went with his sister to Harrods ladies dept and they selected a dainty pair of fur lined quality leather gloves. His sister bought a pair of knickers for herself at the same time. Harrods had a free gift-wrap offer but the assistant mixed up the two items, so the sister got the gloves and Ron got the knickers… Good old Ron sent off his gift-wrapped present in a parcel with the following letter. Darling, I chose these because I've noticed that you are not wearing any when we go out in the evenings. If it had not been for my sister I would have chosen the long ones with buttons, but she wears shorter ones (which are easier to remove). These are a very delicate shade, but the lady I bought them from showed me the pair she had been wearing for the past three weeks and they were hardly soiled at all. I had her try yours on for me and she looked really smart in them even though they were a little bit tight on her. She also said that they rub against her ring which helps keep it clean. In fact she hasn't needed to wash it since she began wearing them. I wish I was there to put them on for you the first time, as no doubt many other hands will touch them before I have a chance to see you again. When you take them off remember to blow into them a little bit because they will be naturally a little damp from wearing. Just imagine how many times my lips will kiss them during the coming year. I hope you will wear them for me on our next date. All my love, Ron. P.S. My mum tells me that the latest style is to wear them folded down with a little bit of fur showing. A college professor was doing a study testing the senses of first year schoolchildren, using a bowl of flavoured Polos. He gave all the children the same kind of Polo, one at a time, and asked them to identify them by colour and flavour. The children began to call them out: "Red............cherry," "Yellow.........lemon," "Green..........lime," "Orange........orange." Finally the professor gave them all new Honey flavoured Polos. After eating them for a few moments none of the children could identify the taste. "Well," he said "I'll give you all a clue. It's what your mother may sometimes call your father." One little girl looked up in horror, spat hers out and yelled: "Oh My God!!!! They're arse-holes!!"