The 9th November 2009 was a momentous day. I celebrated the anniversary a few days ago, and then wept. On that day, over a year ago now, I heard a Coal Tit calling from somewhere in a neighbour's garden. It was the 53rd species for the house list, but had to go down with a little "h" next to it for heard only. That "h" has wrankled ever since. I watch my garden a lot, and I've since added seventeen further species to the list, but I've never seen the Coal Tit. I've lost count of the number of times I've heard it. I've had the scope on my flat bit of roof pointed at likely pine trees while it was calling, but I've never been able to see it.
Today though, the long long wait is over. It visited my feeder. Words cannot describe how amazing this is. A bloody Coal Tit, THE bloody Coal Tit, on my feeder. Goodbye "h", welcome to the proper list! That it has taken over a year is astonishing. I've had the food out the whole time, yummy sunflower hearts and scrumptious peanuts, but never even a sniff. This morning I saw it a dozen times as it came in repeatedly for food. If the Squirrels will just leave off for a bit, it may become a regular visitor. I certainly hope so.
When I espied it out of the corner of my beady eye, it was for a moment just a regular sighting. You know how it goes, you're sitting there not doing a great deal, a sip of tea, a spot of contemplation, in my case this morning whether to get a job or not. Meanwhile the birding portion of your brain is as busy as ever - "Ah, Blue Tit. Great Tit. Oh, here's a Robin. Coal Tit. Oh, another Great Tit. Blue T... Gah!! COAL TIT!!!!!!!! WAKE UP REST OF BRAIN, COAL TIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! " Mad scrabble for camera as it flies off, presumably not to be seen again until 2012, and then a prayer of thanks as it returns and you can confirm what your birding subconscious noted whilst the rest of you was dozing.
So long overdue, and possibly more exciting than it should have been, but that is a reflection only on me. I also got over-excited about a Jay visiting the feeders. I've been putting out some peanuts for it in the hope it might come in range. I've always found them to be very wary, but my benevolence/its greed has paid off. All in all, a fine mornings work. Better than being in an office, which is probably my next port of call....