I said at the start of this year that I wanted to adopt a more relaxed approach to birding, and I really think I'm getting somewhere. Today, rather than thrash the patch, I elected to lie in until about half nine. Then I toddled downstairs and ate pancakes for a bit, and then I went back to bed until lunchtime. That's the spirit! My year list is barely over a hundred, and I've left London once. Top drawer dedication to enjoyable birding!
That said, I've been somewhat too relaxed for my own good this weekend, with only three hours proper birding yesterday, during which I saw very little. Couldn't even find a Siskin. Today was little better, a family walk in the Park netted Coal Tit, the first away from the garden, but little else. Other Wanstead birders didn't fare much better, so I feel justified in having stayed in bed for most of the day. I thought about going for the Eider at Walthamstow, but having seen quite a few at the end of last year I realised it was unnecessary, and had a spot of lunch instead.
January is often like this on the patch. You go ballistic for the first few days and see almost everything, and then spend the rest of the month tramping around in the doldrums wondering why you're seeing nothing new. But that is listing talking again, the desire to add things up, to write something in a little book. Seeing as that was proving impossible, yesterday I spent some time watching Goldcrests. There were three by the bridge at the Dell working themselves into a frenzy of excitement, crests raised. A male and two females by the looks of it, chasing each other round the holly and yew, calling constantly. I hadn't brought my camera due to the drizzle - mistake, they were incredibly close and I might have got some decent shots. Superb little birds. I held one once, up at Holme NNR in Norfolk. I was helping the ringers bring the bagged birds back to the hut, and whilst they were processing them, I was allowed to hold and release one, using the classic ringer grip. It weighed nothing, absolutely nothing. Tiny, perfectly still, yet warm and alert. I released it though a kind of slot in the side of the hut, and it flew off, no doubt wondering what had just happened, but none the worse for the experience.
On a completely unrelated but entirely expected note, have a Waxwing. I've entitled this photo "Waxwing #2". They don't do a great deal of chewing do they?