Day 6 Stormy Heath

Didn’t actually take any pictures on Tuesday 6th June. The featured image is of another wet Tuesday – in January 2014!

Every Tuesday, all through the year, weather permitting, a group of Marylebone Birdwatching Society members and friends go for a walk on Hampstead Heath. I wrote about these Tuesday walks last year referring to a wet Tuesday 31st May 2016 in my blog of what turned out to be a sunny walk 21st June.

This Tuesday, having heard the torrential rain overnight and seen the glistening blotchy Horse Chestnut leaves sway about dramatically in front of my 1st floor window, I was sorely tempted not to venture out. But inspired by #30DaysWild more than out of a sense of responsibility, I decided I’d walk to the meeting point and, hoping no one would be there, continue to the bus stop for a bus home.

One of the regulars texted me before I went out: “Discretion better part of valour – pouring outside so see you next week!” (Which is how I knew the answer to one of questions on the Two Tribes quiz I watched today!)

I don’t always leave myself the time to walk to the meeting point by the Parliament Hill Staff Yard but on this occasion I left 5 minutes earlier than necessary and, dressed in my waterproofs and walking boots, I enjoyed my brisk 25 minute walk through the streets of NW3, over the bridge onto the path by the children’s paddling pool and along to the Staff Yard.

Having got over the Savernake Road bridge onto the Heath, I was greeted by squawking Ring-necked Parakeets. Walking alongside the running track – usually Crows and Gulls either side of the path – I noticed 1 Crow and 1 Wood Pigeon fly over. By the Lido there were about 20 Crows and 20 Feral Pigeons. And I heard a Wren. On the Cricket Pitch (cricket match on Sunday) I saw a pair of Blackbirds which always (except Sunday) appear to be there. And on this occasion there were about 20 Starlings.

I was relieved not to find any of the “usual suspects” in the shelter of the Cafe. There was a little huddle of young people and I checked they weren’t there for the bird walk. Very relieved they weren’t! Their leader later came over to me. This was a UCL field trip. Last year about the same time they’d had similar weather for their Heath field trip and then gone up to Scotland for a week’s fine weather.

Our leader Meg usually comes to the Cafe even in bad weather and she’d not answered my text asking if it was windy enough to advise not walking by trees and saying what I planned to do. It wasn’t until I switched on my pc in the afternoon that I saw she’d emailed the night before to say she wasn’t well. I’d been called “heroic” and “noble” for going to the meeting point. But I’d made my decision without knowing Meg and David wouldn’t be there and with no sense of obligation as a “welcomer”. I’d enjoyed my invigorating walk, mentally “writing” my blog as I went along, noticing the birds I spotted despite the rain – but I was glad to get the bus home.

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