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Saturday 21 April 2012: Knockataggart

This was my view at approximately 7.45am this morning as I completed my last quadrant in the bird survey!! What a very odd experience. The alarm went off at 5am and a blurry peek out of the window proved it was drizzling. I had consulted the weather forecast last night though and was assured that a big bold sun would be shining at 6am. I decided to risk it. Two slight panics on the way : 1. I'd forgotten the map, and 2. I didn't have much petrol. Nonetheless I arrived at Knockataggart at 6.27. This place really is in the middle of nowhere - farmland, rough pasture and a mountain and little lough. The sun had come out, there were little pink clouds and not a soul to be seen. I must have made a very strange sight with my clipboard, wellies, bright orange mac and beret - it was freezing!
Well there was an awful lot of noise but not a lot of visible birds. Gladders had warned me that the dawn chorus could be tricky. I'm quite good at ordinary tweetings but occasionally there would be something exotic or unusual and I didn't have a clue! Still I did the business and all was well until I had to go off the road and up a muddy track which led to the top of the mountain. Lined up before me, in the track, were about 30 cows all patiently waiting to be milked. I had to skirt under electric fences and find another way up. No birds up here but I did disturb a fox. The last bit proved interesting for my line on the map gaily showed the designated path going over the end of the lough - where those reeds are to the right of the picture. Not straight forward for what you can't see is a large drainage ditch and bog. I managed to get across this by leaping across two large stones. A lot of unidentifiable tweetings in the reeds and the odd pheasant were heard here. Just when I thought I didn't have a clue where I was, I trudged up a hill, looked down and there was my car. I have to do it all again in four weeks.
It's amazing what you can fit in by getting up early - more work on the book, planting out some beans and herbs, a cuppa with Travellersjoy ... is it too early for something refreshing?

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