BAD start to February

I might be talking about the stock markets, which currently seem hell bent on destroying my pension fund but all things must pass. I hope this is nothing but a squall. St. Matthew was a cheery chap. Did you know that? Well of course Rod did.

And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.

And as some wag once added: Wednesday will be cloudy with scattered showers.

Luckily today is only Tuesday. I went out early. After days of warm sun the dawn was cool, dull and without any obvious interesting birds. I found one eventually that clearly did not want to be photographed. Today’s philosophical conundrum is: why do decent birds choose the ugliest places to perch? Example:RTFlycatcherA scruffy bit of fencing half obscured by foliage. That was it. Good morning and good-bye. Exit Red-throated Flycatcher stage left. I suspect the shot below is the same bird as it was taken in the same location but 6 weeks earlier. It led me a merry dance, never a clean line of sight.Ficedula albicillaThe lunar new year celebrations are over more or less. Normal service is restored. I heard firecrackers this morning. Probably a few left-overs. Just enough to scare the birds witless. The year of the horse is galloping away from the stalls and heading towards the first fence. My aim is to be the Foinavon of the year. Now that’s showing my age. Oh and to avoid the famines, pestilences and earthquakes. Jolly inconvenient.


If you scroll through the comments you will find a short verse by Mike K., one of HK’s most accomplished birders. I wanted to bring it into the main blog. It is clever as the Red-throated Flycatcher is also known as a Taiga Flycatcher…………….


Taiga taiga burning bright
On ugly wire – but in plain sight
“Not good enough” says A, “for I”
“Who’d frame thee else, in simple tree.”

With apologies to William Blake . . .


22 thoughts on “BAD start to February

  1. Am I learning! I could have sworn that was a Robin, though as soon as I looked properly I could see he only had a mini red cravat instead of the whole bosom.

  2. Taiga taiga burning bright
    On ugly wire – but in plain sight
    “Not good enough” says A, “for I”
    “Who’d frame thee else, in simple tree.”

    With apologies to William Blake . . .

    • Love it, Mike. Can I add it to the blog? This bird has been at NSW all winter – very elusive. If I get bored looking at gulls I wander off and look for it but it has not really played ball yet.

  3. You know how the famous “they” are always saying that the grim weather makes the good that much better? Well, same goes for the birds in the ugly settings. How wonderful when a bird poses on the perfect branch or bloom, eh? 🙂

  4. Oh, Andrew, when I see the email telling me that “BAD Start To February” is available, I think, “So what else is new?” All kinds of disappointments and cringing responses have already happened this month (I live in a section of Colorado that is still under snow, and I’m a Bronco fan…and that’s just the start of my list this month).
    But your Bird A Day is a gift, a reminder of fragile beauty, resilience, and hope…and the patience it takes to capture its image.
    Thank you, Andrew and Red-Throated Flycatcher, for this ray of sunshine.

    • Marylin, I am sorry February has started so badly for you. I don’t follow the American football but even I was aware of the Superbowl. It must have been a great disappointment. Not even a close game. As for snow, well we just don’t get it. I have already seen a White-bellied Sea Eagle this morning so my day has started well.

  5. Cute little dickens on the fence. That’s the way things go sometimes and for me more often than not. Yes, the world is in a mess and I don’t think anyone can predict what is going to happen money wise. You just have to try to hold on to what you’ve got and be thankful for what you do have.

    About good days as opposed to bad days. I have 4 words for most of my days and I use the abbreviated form.. My favorite expression for things that don’t go right is SSDD. I don’t think you’ll ever figure that one out. 🙂

  6. I keep putting out the bird feed, Andrew, just in case our little feathered friends want suet etc… only a Robin so far, but at least ’twas worth the cleaning of the bird table. (Water too of course, always fresh ) The Red Throated Flycatcher could be mistaken for a Robin, Maybe? His colourful bib slipped upwards? 🙂 xPenx

  7. Andrew, in the RCL this week Matthew is recalling Jesus telling us that if salt loses it’s saltiness it’s useless and no one lights a lamp then sticks it under a big basket – we are meant to be what we are – and be the best we can be at being us. You and your photography and witty paragraphs are certainly being very salty and throwing some great light.
    I actually like the little wiry bird shot. Obviously he is meant to be difficult.
    I have been trying to avoid looking at the markets, so far just paper losses.
    Hope Wednesday turns out better than the prediction above. 😀

    • OK Rod, I give in. RCL. Revolutionary Communist League? Royal Canadian Legion? Revised Common Lectionary? I shall have to add more pepper to go with the salt. Oh for an “up day”.

  8. Wouldn’t it be nice if they just did what we wanted them to. Stay still, pose sideways and fly nice and slow when they decided to move. Not a chance. Yesterday we had an exceptionally high tide. Good photo opportunity thinks I. The birds on the estuary will be forced higher due to the incoming tide and I should get plenty of photographs. So what happens? It clouds over, the light drops rapidly and I’m forced to shoot with ever higher ISO’s to get anything decent, which when I get home I realise is not one.. And then the wind changes direction forcing the tidal surge away from me and the birds as well. The best photo of the day was the survey vessel which remarkably seemed to be bathed in permanent sunlight, even although it was speeding along about 30 knots.

    Now I remember why I prefer landscape photography…

    • You have my sympathy Mike. I tried Nam Sang Wai today. The birds stayed resolutely at a distance. Nothing remotely decent. A few large gulls, almost certainly Heuglins were around but I ended up with nothing but a few record shots. I was shooting at either 1600 or 3200 iso. Its just not cricket.

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