For me, January the first is more exciting for Christmas. For my kids, it's less exciting than Christmas. There are no presents, and Daddy is nowhere to be seen.
This morning, Daddy was out on Wanstead Flats in the dark. My Woodcock ticking ambitions were thwarted by a large Greyhound thing - also in the dark. It just isn't fair. Anyway, giving up on that idea, I joined Nick in the Broom fields, and we started THE LIST. There is a write up on the new Multi-author Wanstead Birders do Blogging Blog here, so I won't go over it all again, suffice it to say that I am knackered.
Patch birding is hard! You have to walk everywhere! I am used to driving to places, getting out of the car and toddling off to see the bird, and then getting back in the car. Today I must have walked about a thousand miles, possibly more. Wanstead is immense, and there was no inch of it that we didn't cover. Nick is a walking machine. I mean, he walks to Dungeness and places like that. Not drives to Dungeness and then goes for a walk. Walks to Dungeness. I'm not sure I will last the course.
Before I freeze up altogether, just time for a few photos from the patch. I ended up on 56 species, Nick on 55. There is a Pigeon on my list - Nick needs to lower his standards. I reckon that's a par score for day one. Before I started I said 55-60, and there were a stack of birds we didn't get. Siskin should have been nailed on, but was inexplicably absent, and every single one of the 20,000 Teal that have been living in Wanstead since about November chose to depart yesterday. No Lesser Spot, no Kingfisher, no Grey Wag. Still, plenty of time.
Bird of the day: Wigeon on the Flats, a Flats tick.
Interesting* Fact of the Day: In 2010 Song Thrush was my 40th bird. In 2011 it was also my 40th bird. How amazing is that?!
* Not really