Tuesday 1 February 2011

Hello February!

Morning! Well January zipped by didn't it? Obviously as I age (gracefully) time inevitably goes quicker, but by any standards January went like lightning. I suppose a week in America rather than Wanstead meant that it was mid-month before I even knew it contributes to the impression of an extremely brief January, but there you go, it's gone.

Birding has been extremely relaxed - pleasingly relaxed. I have felt under no pressure whatsover, proving that it's all in the mind, and if you can manage to relegate listing urges to the back of your mind you will be much healthier for it, in a spiritual sense. I've left Wanstead twice to bird elsewhere - one trip to Norfolk to look at a potentially pet goose, and one trip just the other day to the Essex coast. By contrast I've visited Wanstead Park nine times, Wanstead Flats twice, and have yet to set foot in Bush Wood. Admirably local, Ohio notwithstanding.

And you know what? It's been great. I haven't turned up anything unusual on the patch, but so what? I'm more than pleased with Wigeon, Lesserspot, Treecreeper and Water Rail - all good birds for round here. I've just been strolling around enjoying it. Pottering would sum it up nicely. I've taken more photos of Mallards than strictly necessary, but I seem not to tire of it. Although they are common as muck, they're actually one of our best-looking ducks. Because they're omnipresent, people tend to look through them, just as they do with Blue Tits, but spend a bit of time looking at Mallards and you'll quickly come to the conclusion that they're extremely smart.

Anyway, my January total on the patch was a solid yet unspectacular 64, very slightly lower than in recent years, a function of having been away for a week and my new-found laziness, err I mean relaxed approach. I'm still missing Kingfisher, Tawny Owl and Grey Wag, all of which are around, but no-one has seen the resident Little Owl or an overwintering Stonechat - perhaps we don't have any this year?

I'll probably hit the park later today for some more enjoyment of very tame ducks, although what I should really be doing is getting my hair cut. I am developing curls around the ears and a what appears to be a rather unfortunate mullet down the back of my neck. I loathe getting my hair cut, as it eats into birding job-hunting time, but I suppose once every three months isn't so bad, and it eliminates a lot of the grey that could almost be described as becoming invasive. My knee still hurts by the way.

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