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Thursday, December 14, 2006

Two Kens

I'm blessed with two mates called Ken. The longest-standing is retired university colleague and fellow ecologist Ken. We have spent much time participating in field courses (mainly on Exmoor) and birdwatching at Rutland Water. Once or twice a year we'd go off for a couple of days in "firm's time" to have a bed and breakfast overnight stop at Cley (Norfolk) or Minsmere. We were easily able to justify these jollys on academic grounds: a biochemist, microbiologist or geneticist should enhance their personal academic skills in a laboratory. Ecologists must develop theirs (taxonomy, identification, etc.) in the field. Though we never claimed expenses, only the time.

One feature of our friendship was that once a week (ok, maybe sometimes twice) Ken would join me in my flat on the university campus after work for a beer. We'd take it in turns to buy the four-pack of McEwan's Export. Therefore he is referred to as "Drinking Ken".

Ringing Ken (left) and Drinking Ken (right) have supper at Maalie Court

On moving to Cumbria in 2001 I joined the Walney Bird Observatory and found other sites to pursue my bird-ringing interests. It wasn't long before I caught up with Ken from Barrow-in-Furness, also retired and a licensed bird ringer. We quickly became ringing colleagues and in particular Ken has been an invaluable partner in my study of Marsh Tits in the Roudsea Wood National Nature Reserve . In July 2005 we spent a week ringing seabirds on Bardsey Island, lying off the Lleyn Peninsular in North Wales. To avoid confusion, this Ken is referred to as "Ringing Ken".

I felt privileged that both Kens were able to join me at home yesterday (Dec 13th) for a birthday supper.


Blogger Tortoiseshell said...

Sounds good!

10:25 am  
Anonymous Ellee said...

Belated birthday wishes, was lasagne on the menu again?

Cley is so lovely, I have enjoyed some lovely walks around there, but not bird watching. I must go to the WWT at Welney soon and see the swans, it is only 10 miles or so away, they have lovely floodlit feeding evenings and people travel from quite a distance to see it.

5:28 pm  
Blogger Maalie said...

Thanks Ellee. No, this time it was a nice joint of pork, with all the trimmings!

9:04 pm  
Anonymous Ellee said...

Sounds delicious, the trimmings always make it.
Happy Solstice too"

11:14 am  
Blogger Kiwi Nomad 2006 said...

Happy Birthday-just-past to you!
You made me think that I know a few Kens as well.... my brother-in-law Ken, and my cousin Ken...

5:37 pm  

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