Monday, 22 February 2010

Work and pleasure

A female Greater Scaup dozes alongside Pochard, Tufted Duck and Coot at Brent Reservoir.

You could be forgiven for thinking that the editor of a bird magazine might spend a lot of his time birding. If only it were so. During office hours, the great majority of our birding is done vicariously, through reading and editing submissions to the magazine, dealing with contributors and, of course, swapping stories in the office.

In that respect at least I'm sure that editing Birdwatch is no different from being a wildlife TV presenter or an RSPB warden - most of the job has little to do with the subject matter, and it's much more about administration, communication and working as part of a larger team in various ways. Hence when I do take an extended period off work, as over the past couple of weeks, I am keen to maximise any birding opportunity.

Today's plan had been to make an early start at Broxbourne, where Hawfinches have been showing well in recent days - it's a difficult species to connect with in the London Area. However, rain, sleet, snow and more rain made the weather better suited to ducks than finches, so while running various errands, I called in instead at Brent Reservoir, in the shadows of Wembley Stadium (what an ugly building that is), in the hope of seeing the lingering female (Greater) Scaup there.

It wasn't where Brent regular Roy Beddard had recently seen it, on the main reservoir, but extending the search to the Northern Marsh I managed to locate the bird asleep under overhanging willows with other Aythya ducks. The above shot is - for me - a rare digiscoped effort, as my Canon G10 does not marry up well to Swarovski's ATS HD scope. That's something I discovered during a digiscoping workshop that I attended on behalf of the magazine - so the job does, of course, have its benefits.

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