Most of you will not have heard of Otham. Neither had I until I bought a tree there.

Mature living trees are not usually sold in The UK and I knew that there would be some resistance from Mrs Gannet, but I overcame her doubts by pointing out that it came with a house. As far as she, Her Majesty’s Land Registry and the mortgage company are concerned, we have bought a house in the pretty village of Otham, Kent, but let there be no mistaking my motivation, the beautiful English Oak in the front garden was my raison d’acheter.

Oak Tree

Carrie recently noted that no-one had ever submitted an eBird Checklist from Socrates Sculpture Park, so set out to rectify the oversight. I have also spotted an underbirded area. If a circle with a 10 mile radius was drawn from my new tree, it would take in only 3 eBird Hotspots (one of which was populated entirely by yours’ truly and a second which contains a single entry of one bird). If the most popular corner of one of The World’s most populated islands can only muster 3 hotspots in an area of more than 300 square miles, then it is either seriously underbirded or, the word according to Cornell University has not yet reached the heathens of Kent. The village of Otham has so far completely failed to trouble the local eBird invigilators who are probably curled up in a comfy chair by the fire in The White Horse, gently snoring.

Otham's RobinThe excitement of buying a tree has been tempered by the house which has proved to be quite needy, but eventually I managed to get away from the leaking pipes and dangerous wiring to escape into the garden for a few moments. Mrs Gannet and I disagree for most of the time, about most things, but we have found a common fancy in a Robin that has staked out a territory by the oak tree. He is very bold and follows us around, flying quickly down to inspect any turned over leaves. While the gutters continue to hang from the sides of the house and the roof looks as if it might collapse at any moment, the dozing invigilators of Otham are unlikely to be disturbed from their slumbers, but for now at least, the village has one submission; one European Robin.

Written by Redgannet
Redgannet has been working for over 33 years as a crew member/flight attendant and enjoys the well-ventilated air of the outdoors. The nom de blog, Redgannet, was adopted to add an air of mystery and to make himself more attractive to women. His father first whetted Redguga's appetite for all things natural by buying him his first pair of 7x35s and a copy of Thorburn's Birds. Having no mentor beyond an indulgent parent, he spent the first season hoping for an Egyptian Vulture at the bird table in his English garden. His most memorable birding moment is seeing an Egyptian Vulture with those same binoculars 26 years later. Redgannet is married to Canon, but his heart and half of his house belongs to Helen and their son Joseph. He is looking forward to communicating with people who don't ask if he is searching for the "feathered variety" of bird.