Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Why did I choose ringing?

I think we've all had the odd day like this chap from South Africa...
"This morning's ringing session had me asking the question - Why didn't I stick to golf?
I decided to visit my Bot River site for the first time after the winter rains. On arrival - no site. Completely washed away by the river in spate. All the trees lining the far bank were in the water. Can't cross the river, which is running very fast and deep, and no riverine bush left on my side. So decided to put up some nets along the fence lining the river to try to catch some pasture species, plus a few round the top of the nearby dam wall. Got to the wall and found a dead cow (plus/minus a week) in the dam and stinking like Hades. (Should've taken this as an omen - I'm sure the ancient Romans would have.)
First "pasture" bird in the net - an African Black Duck, which proceeded to empty the plentiful contents of its bowels all over me at high pressure as I extract it. Also ripped a nice hole in my waders with its toes.
Just settling down to the "normal" routine when I hear a commotion at the dam. A big fat Jersey cow has walked into the end net and is trying to pull the lot back into the meadow. Fortunately she got untangled and ran off, leaving a two metre hole in the net, plus a wide assortment of debris, sticks and weeds. Twenty-five minutes to sort and re-set the nets and move the ringing site nearer to the (smelly) dam so I can keep an eye out for more cows.
Settling down again when a roaring south-east wind comes ripping up the valley out of nowhere. Only lasts 10 minutes but when I get to the nets by the river, two of them have fallen against the rusty, four-strand barbed wire fence and are totally hooked and tangled.
Three hours later, (with stops to check the dam wall nets) I finally have the nets freed and back in the net-bags.
Five hours of hard work produced 8 weavers, 6 bishops, a Fiscal Flycatcher and a shi**y Black Duck!
Mum said there'd be days like this - and she was right!"

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