On occasions when I have gone 'off patch' over recent months I have had birders I know saying one of two things:
Question a) Where you been Jase? your not doing much birding anymore!
Question b) Have you and Tony fell out? You don't seem to go out birding together very often!
Primarily it is the Black Country birders I know who have been firing off these questions too me (or to people who know me) but a handful of Staffordshire and Worcestershire ones also have. So with the fact I am getting tired of this I thought I would set the record straight addressing these 2 questions.
Answer a) Firstly yes I am still alive and birding as regular readers to this blog can testify. This year I have stayed more locally mainly due to the cost of fuel and my current lack of employment. So it's pretty much been Shenstone only with occasional visits to Clee, Grimley and Wyre Forest . Also with each passing year I get less and less pleasure from twitching birds and would rather go out locally and see what I can find. At the end of the day someone has to find the birds for people to twitch so it's a good job there are still folks out there who do cover areas as local patch.
Another point I would like to make is that this year has been a poor birding year in the Midlands anyway and there hasn't been as many good birds to find on the patch (so news has been a bit lacking to put out). Although, that said star Shenstone birds this year have included a Spring ♂ Ring Ouzel and a Short-eared Owl. Other 2012 finds that I have made include Tundra Bean Goose at Chelmarsh and the recent Waxwings at Hartlebury.
Answer b) Well, me and Tony aren't joined to the hip you know. He is a good mate and yes I still see him (twice this week...perish the thought!) but we are also very different kinds of birders. Tony has been concentrating on his 2012 year list and will also go twitching national rarities now and again. Where as I am happy tootling around the local patch. That said Tony also enjoys a bit of bread and butter birding so we catch up now and again and do either the patch or some other local area.
So there you have it. I'm not so much having a go as setting the record straight. So all my local birding friends and acquaintances spread the word I'm not bl**dy dead and I certainly haven't packed in birding!
Anyway here is a rather apt song by The Young Knives called "Here Comes the Rumour Mill"