It’s been a while since my last blog entry, partly because of a week off waiting for my stitches to come out but mostly because I was struck down with a particularly nasty intestinal bug, which showed no sign of improving. Tests followed, then more tests, followed by bloods and x-rays before a diagnosis was reached two weeks later. Turns out I had picked up Giardia, a water-borne parasitic flagellate, which attacks the lower intestine, most probably caught whilst splashing through the mud and water at South Milton when clearing the net rides on my last visit. It turns out that David Walliams caught the same bug during his charity swim down the Thames.
Fortunately, things improved rapidly after a course of antibiotics although I’m not 100% even after three and a half weeks. Nevertheless, I felt fit enough to get to SML on 2nd June and face up to the task of clearing the net rides again. I started at the seaward end. These rides had been under a metre of water during the late winter but were accessible now and the soft young reeds only took about thirty minutes to clear. The net rides by the sewage treatment works were more problematic and were at risk of being swamped by hemlock water dropwort. It still amazes me how much bramble and willow can grow in a few weeks as well.
Anyway, I carried on clearing vegetation until my batteries ran out then set up a few nets at about 9am. This turned out to be surprisingly productive, with 68 birds caught and a reasonable variety: 3 Blackbird, 4 Blackcap, 4 Blue Tit, 4 Chiffchaff, 4 Dunnock, 1 Garden Warbler, 1 Goldfinch, 2 Greenfinch, 1 Great Tit, 23 Reed Warbler, 4 Robin, 11 Sedge Warbler, 3 Whitethroat and 3 Wren.