Despite the ludicrous January quality up and down the land, this is weekend has limited twitching opportunities. Saturday is the kids swimming lesson, followed by one of my son's friends' birthday parties at the hell-hole that is "Kid's Corner" in Epping Forest. The plan is that I drop Maman, son & middle daughter off there, and then take the youngest off somewhere whilst the party rages. If I have long enough (and if the Phragmites at Aveley have been limed according to my instructions) I may go for the Pendulines, which will be a new bird for both of us. If the party is only an hour, then I'll just go round Connaught Water for the Mandarins, and maybe a Smew.
Sunday is the real killer though. Hitler Woman's Birthday. At our house. And I am expected to be present. And pleasant. And to cough up some vintage Burgundy. And all this whilst the East London Massive are in Cornwall ticking Snowy Owl. It is not going to be easy.
Oh, and a site tick this morning in Wanstead Park, with a pair of Red-crested Pochard on the Heronry Pond. Provenance unknown but I am ticking them anyway. #90. Sorry, make that #90. Was counting throught the regular Pochards (43 in case you were wondering) and there they were, a male and female. An uncouth word may have passed my lips. Obviously there are large feral populations, but these were hanging about at the far side of the pond (because I had a camera), and the hard weather is clearly causing movements of wildfowl. Smew next please. Or a RN Grebe. Also, following a tip-off from a visiting birder from Fairlop, heard Nuthatch in a Churchyard just north of Wanstead Park. Unfortunately outside my patch boundaries, might have to annex it.....