3rd Jan. It had been a short and bitterly cold short walk and I had given up all hope of adding any new birds to the year list. I’ve yet to leave the patch this year. Just as I was going to return to a warm home I caught the flapping of what were obviously the wings of a Grey Heron. It seemed to land in the hedge, maybe two hundred yards away. It soon confirmed its presence as it flew out into the field pursued by a crow. The heron landed, as did the crow, in the centre of the field. They seemed to be starring each other out in a battle of wills. The heron flew a short distance again, followed by the crow and the battle continued. Then both took of again. This time the heron landed next to the very narrow burn that runs at the back of the housing estate, and almost nonchalantly stood its ground, with the crow as ‘companion.’ A second crow, this one with leucistic plumage, flew in to join them briefly, but it seemed uninterested and soon flew off. Such was the distance, the heron looked small and insignificant. Perhaps hunger was adding to its determination, but determined to stay it certainly was. I wondered if it was the same bird I have seen mobbed by crows in the sky above my patch as I have stood and watched until it became a distant view. As I left both birds remained still. Unlike me, neither bird had a warm home to return to. This winter has been a cruel one so far. I hope both the heron and the crow survive it!
As I neared home I heard the chipping call of a Great Spotted Woodpecker. I caught sight of it high in the tree. The silence on the rest of my walk had been very noticeable, but I was happy that I had taken the short time out which had added two new birds to the list.