A slight lie in the morning on account of being awake most of the night listening to Aggers talking about rain, but nonetheless out on the patch by 8ish. Two steps onto the patch and two Goldcrests were chasing each other about, followed closely by a Dunnock, neither of which I saw on the Flats yesterday. Funny how it goes. That was about as good as it got though, and despite a good tramp around both the Flats and the Park, I was unable to add any patch yearticks. Where have all the Siskin gone?
As promised, I was back home by eleven, and straight back into family life. Family life today meant disposing of the Christmas Tree. This is almost as ritualistic as decorating it in the first place, with sombre children each choosing a decoration to take down, before passing it to Mrs L for wrapping and stashing. My role was to tangle up the lights, and get rid of the actual tree. This was achieved by picking it up and shoving it through the front window. Last year I dragged it out through the front door, resulting in about an hour of vacuuming, and I continued to find the odd needle in every single month of the following year. So today I was pretty pleased with myself - minimum mess elsewhere, and a tree neatly plonked on what passes for our front lawn. That was until I discovered that I had turned into a porcupine. When disposing of Christmas Trees, I am here to tell you that it is inadvisable to wear a woolly jumper. Rookie Error. I ended up vacuuming myself, and still had pine needles falling into my lunch.
When that was all done, I took Muffin out onto the Flats to play football. This was not a pretext to go birding in any way. We had bought him a new football for Christmas, and he has been wanting to take it out for a kickabout for ages, but the playing fields have either been covered with snow, or really muddy. Yesterday was about the first day we could contemplate going, but I ended up going to Norfolk instead. Poor parenting. So today was the day, and to say he was eager is somewhat of an understatement. We played goal to goal, which basically means we take penalties at each other non-stop until he gets bored and asks to go home. I lost 16-11, mainly a measure of his warped thinking on what constitutes a goal or not, but also because about half way through I noticed an adult Great Black-backed Gull flying east over Capel Point , and he took this opportunity to fire several past me whilst I was excitedly following it through my bins. You knew I took bins, right? Anyhow, GBB was a new one for the year, and they are not an easy one to get by any means. A quick look at the stat counter shows I have seen just eight in six years. Almost mega.