I find lighting effects through the trees at this time of year really attractive.
1st Jan. It’s a pleasant feeling when your number one concern on getting up on the 1st January is merely, ‘what is the first bird I’m going to see?’ In this case it was a House Sparrow from the regular little flock. My birding continued in laid back fashion as I watched the garden. After birds two and three, Black Headed Gull and Starling, the Coal Tit appeared at the feeder. Unusually the Greenfinches were the most numerous species after the House Sparrows. Years ago Greenfinches were a regular visitor in numbers, but today brought more than at anytime in more recent years. I watched until I had clocked up 13 species (I’m not superstitious, well not unduly). Other species being Chaffinch, Blackbird, Dunnock, Robin, Wood Pigeon, Blue Tit, Great Tit and Carrion Crow. There has been little sign of Wrens over the past month and I recall only seeing one briefly and today was no exception.
It was then time for my New Year walk on patch. I knew I could clock up a few birds in no time around the lake, but I decided I wanted peace as well as birds. I may pop down tomorrow. Today I stuck to the wagon-ways and the back of the old village. Magpie was on my list before I had got around the corner and soon afterwards a party of Long Tailed Tits was seen. Collared Doves were around the farm in large numbers but from then on the area seemed barren of birds. It was as quiet as I have ever known it.
After quite a hike I did manage to find a Kestrel, at first a long distance sighting as it perched in a hedge but it was soon on the move and showing better. The hedges seemed to be holding very little. On retracing some steps I did find Yellowhammers, the male showing wonderfully in the sun, and also a single Reed Bunting. I watched a distant skein of geese flying northwards up the coast line. I had no idea which species they were. Two Mistle Thrushes flew by.
Rain appeared to be falling either on the coastline or out at sea and rainbows were with me most of the time that I was out. For a minute or two sleet fell lightly on me, as cloud passed over. By the end of the walk the sky to the west was bright and sunlit, but the eastern area looked as though some poorer weather was on the way as the sky turned a pale shade of yellow in places. I’d managed to see Common and Herring Gulls in number overhead, and one Great Black Backed Gull. Jackdaws and Rooks were in the trees as I made for home. A few Goldfinches had been seen too. Wren was heard.
As I said, laid back birding today as I’m saving myself for an exciting year ahead. If 2011 rewards me as well as 2010 then I’m going to be well satisfied. I have one or two targets in mind. The list is on twenty-eight by the way. Listing definitely has its place and adds to the enjoyment. I hope everyone enjoys there birding and nature watching in 2011, in the way that suits them best.
I’m waiting for two books to arrive, monographs on Greenshank and Ruff so my research into waders continues. I did try and support a local firm when I ordered a monograph on the Dotterel. First there was a problem with the website and then when I contacted them by telephone I was told that they couldn’t at that point tell me if they had the book that they were advertising. I was promised that they would call me back the following day. That was weeks ago and I’m still waiting for the call! I’ve decided that if local firms can’t be bothered with local customers, I’m going back to using Amazon, and I have. I’ve found Amazon very efficient and on the odd occasion something goes wrong they correct it quickly, so you generally save money and receive an efficient service too.