12 April 2008

England #3

I wish Japanese Robins were as common and tame as European ones.

2 very different chuches.........St Marys in Penwortham and the Minster in York.

Well I made it back to Japan. 27 hours door to door involving a lift, 3 flights covering 5 airports, 1 bus and 1 taxi. I didn't get much sleep but at least the long flight this time featured those little entertainment systems (though if the person in front leans back you can't see all the screen). I watched 'I am Legend' which was nothing special and 'No country for old men' which was rather good.

The last few days in England were quiet after the hectic first week. We did make it out to York, ther first time I'd been there since my early 20's. Unlike me the city hasn't changed so much.

Birding was also very lacklustre. The first Swallows of the year and a Great Crested grebe up the river plus lots of singing Chiffchaff were around last Monday and on Wednesday (my last day in England!) I took a short walk up the lane near yards from my parents' house where I started birding all those years ago. I was surprised to see a pair of Nuthatch (I'd never seen any there before) and amazed to see not one but five Common Buzzard.....it even looks like they might be nesting in a small wood nearby too.......

Here are some of the commoner birds on that very same small lane.....

A bit of a wrench to leave England, 2 weeks seemed way too short. I enjoyed the food I have to say and the beer it goes without saying. British food getsa bit of a bad press but it appears to get better every time I go home. Western staples like fresh bread and decent cheese and stuff like ready cooked Indian stuff from the supermarket helped me pile on the pounds sure enough.

The local birds have changed too. Some common birds are scarcer (House Sparrow) or appear to have gone altogether (I didn't see any Linnet for example), are much commoner (Woodpigeon, Blackbird, Mallard, Goldfinch) or have appeared from nowhere (the aforementioned Nuthatch and Buzzard). Avocet and Little Egret are also apparently well established in the northwest, 2 species I would have considered extremely exotic when I lived in the region.

I didn't see much live footie at all..........except The Liverpool v Arsenal game in the Champion's League. Which was certainly worth watching.

Shall I stay up and watch some rather dull Premier League fixtures tonight? Or should I go to bed and sleep off that horendous journey? I'll decide after my last taste of England..........a bottle of Marston's Pedigree I brought back now safely in the fridge......

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