Saturday, August 9, 2014

Club verses Countryside - Rainham Marshes


This was the battle between club and countryside.  Today the football league season started.  The bully boys of organised sport had returned a month too early in my opinion, elbowing out our summer sports such as cricket and tennis, major sporting events that are still in progress.  Definitely at least a yellow card offence. I'm always so bitter about the new campaign of a football season.  It's because I don't quite feel ready for it.  Football should commence on the climatic change of our seasons and a defined deterioration of our weather.  It should be played when all the other major sports are forced back into hibernation, and all that's left is the radio commentary on a dank tuesday night of a league game from mythical lands such as the Keepmoat, or Brunton Park.

I have been a lifelong Watford fan, the heady days of 'Elton John's Taylor made army' watching the frightening pace and skill of John Barnes down the left, Luther Blissett's magic in the box, and the curious goal-keeping enigma that was Steve Sherwood.  I have seen Lineker, Gascoigne, Cantona all at The Vic - memories that will never fade.

The first day of the footballing season, and I am the victim of my own ambivalence.  A month too early, bloody football back again with their overpriced, societally overrated, intellectually deficient players, fans myopic in expectation, restless in anticipation.  I wanted to go.

At this impasse, weighing up the options (as tickets were still available), I decided to head south-west to Rainham Marshes instead of North-West to Watford.  Never in doubt.

Sat among the friendly assembled birding fans on the second platform overlooking Aveley Pools, the Spotted Crake appeared from the edge of the island, sitting motionless for all of around thirty seconds before darting back into the reeds.  It then reappeared not long afterwards before disappearing once again.  Pretty decent views despite the distance and the brilliant sunlight of what appeared to be a young bird, much different to the adult seen at Titchwell the week before.

Also on the pools were a good selection of waders that included a single Wood Sandpiper, at least five Green Sandpiper, four Black-Tailed Godwit, two Common Snipe, four Dunlin, and an eclipse drake Wigeon.  A juvenile Hobby flew low over the pools and four juvenile Little Ringed Plover were present on Purfleet Scrape.

Watford incidentally won 3-0.

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