Friday, 11 January 2013
For whom the bell tolls
Friday 11th January 2913 Visited the stubble fields of Burton Hastings today. Used to be quite a good site for winter birds in the past with a regular flock of Golden plover,Stonechat and more occasional sightings of Grey Partridge and even Merlin. Today, not a lot. A flock of 23 Meadow pipits and a smaller number of Skylarks were the best I could come up with.In about 3 miles of hedges there were a few Blackbirds and Reed Buntings single Wren, Yellowhammer, Mistle Thrush, Blue tit and Goldcrest. Visability wasnt great in fact the fog increased as the walk went on but even so not much in the way of variety or numbers. As the fog became heavier I had a strange moment, yes I know, another one. Any road up as the fields became evermore featureless I heard a bell, at least I thought I did. A single distant note carried through the fog. Was it my new phone telling me something irrelevant, was it some breed of Alpine cattle complete with bell? About 15 minutes later it sounded again, a little closer I thought. I had visions of the rigging of some sailing ship, perhaps the Marie Celeste herself briefly coming into view through the swirling mist before disappearing again. The bell tolled again, Bloody 'ell, I knew I was close to the canal but this was getting ridiculous....and then it dawned. Nuneaton Golf Club wasnt that far away. Perhaps they used a bell as some form of signal to bring players in or to act as a homing beacon in fog so that players out on the course could find their way back to the bar. Perhaps someone could tell me if this is the case or will the tale be confined to the rubbish bin of birding folklore.