Sunday, 13 May 2012


As far as I know, nobody has yet identified or given a suitable name to a hobby consisting of observing freshly opened leaves of native trees. Until it gets an easily remembered name like birding or dirt-biking it’s unlikely to take off as a cult pursuit to be exploited by providers of a commercial range of apparel gear and equipment. Whatever it might get called you can be pretty confident that it’s destined to remain a minority interest.

Still, despite the limited number of weeks of activity, it’s got much to recommend it for those who like the natural sculptures of woodland and unspoiled landscapes. And one big advantage is it’s not conspicuous so it doesn’t get in anyone else’s way.

The birders and twitchers on Blacka Moor similarly stick to a limited number of weeks. You don’t see them at all for most of the year then from April through to May they appear often carrying binoculars, tripods and long lenses making them less inconspicuous than they might like. The regulars who heroically walk in all months and all weathers can be at the receiving end of rather superior looks from a minority of these bird fanciers especially if the regulars’ dogs show an interest, curious to see who these strangers are and whether they have any contributions to make.

For the record this fine Sunday early was a good time for the birds and their watchers. Among those seen and/or heard were Blackcap and Garden Warbler, Cuckoo, Whitethroat, Lark, Pipit, Stonechat.

It’s not always easy to tell what the residents are watching, but whatever it is you can do it when still in bed.

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