This is dismal, can we go back to 2013 please? I lasted about two hours on the patch, during which I trudged round the Flats half-heartedly and scurried indoors at the first sign of bad weather. Usually it's Christmas which is dull, and I instead get massively excited, small child excited, about the New Year. I get my spreadsheet ready to accept the new records, and I listen out for birds as soon as midnight passes. This year was a little different, I went to bed almost immediately after midnight - I'm amazed I lasted that long actually - and, sacreligiously, I didn't even update my spreadsheet until this afternoon. So it was no surprise that my all time low enthusiasm was matched by an all time low Jan 1st score. 51 species. Paltry.
Of course it was that bloody Robin again. Whether it's singing outside the window at midnight or singing outside the window at eight in the morning makes no difference. It insists on being first on, and there is nothing I can do about it. That's five years in a row now. The only reason it didn't get on first in 2009 was because I was in Scotland, but I bet it was still singing, hoping. As last year, I was still in bed when I heard it. I groaned and turned over, but it was too late, and so I reluctantly got up. Magpie ten yards down the road, then the gentle strains of Song Thrush from the Flats. Woodpigeon over, and then a Blackbird.
Same old, same old. The only surprise today was a Little Owl, and even that wasn't really a surprise as I knew about it already. So the most surprising things today were the things that weren't. No Chaffinch. No Cormorant. No Collared Dove. No Heron. No Kestrel. But worst and most surprising of all, no Dunnock. I mean how can that even happen?
It must be a sign.