Saturday 5 December 2009


Another glorious morning on the patch - my dedication of late is unmatched. Except it is now Sunday morning and I should be out there and I'm sat here writing this. Well, it's raining...

I started off yesterday morning on the Flats, and after only a single Meadow Pipit decided that I would be better off in the Park. I came in via Reservoir Wood, and whilst happily engaged taking a few pics of a Robin that came out really badly, I noticed a Firecrest flitting about. It was soon joined by another, and for about an hour they bounced around me, calling frequently. Their speed of movement plus the tangle of branches combined to render auto-focus useless, so I switched to manual. How photographers ever did without the magic of auto-focus is beyond me, it was nearly impossible. I managed about four or five almost in-focus shots. Record shots, as they are known. As a say, I spent an hour with these birds, barely moving an inch from where I was stood the whole time. Superb. They seemed very settled, I think they have been in Reservoir Wood for about a month now. With any luck they will over-winter, and get themselves on my 2010 list in January.

When they finally moved off I did too, and enjoyed one of my best mornings in the Park that I can remember. I notched up 45 species, as far as I can tell from my notes this is the best I have ever managed. I found another Firecrest up near the Perch Pond, the female Goldeneye was still on Heronry (and, like the Firecrests, is welcome to stay until January), and whilst I was in the Old Sewage Works a Common Buzzard flew north along the Roding. Of the common thrushes I only missed Fieldfare, I got all the usual ducks apart from Shoveler, and I also couldn't find any Siskin or Stock Dove. If I can have a similar morning on January 1st I'll be very pleased indeed. Have you noticed how much I'm talking about January? Exciting isn't it! A fresh start, literally a blank piece of paper, the metaphorical slate wiped clean. Can't wait!