Saturday 31 January 2015


Some heavy-looking snow roused me from my warm bed this morning. Wow, snow on the patch! Surely that must mean that good birds are on the way! There have been some memorable snowy days in the past, who can forget the 400 Lapwings, Jack Snipe and six Golden Plover back in February 2012? So I eagerly pulled on some clothes, got the waterproofs and headed out. Into the rain. In fact it didn't snow again all day, and the birding was dire. Beyond awful. One of those days where you know for a fact that you're not going to see a damn thing. I trudged round, first the SSSI, then the Broom Fields, but nothing happened. No Snipe, no Fieldfare, no Redpoll. Jingling Goldfinches were the highlight, but the patch was essentially as dead as a doornail. When it's bad, it's very very bad. I returned home after an hour or so and got on with some jobs I had been avoiding, and then booked a ticket to Istanbul. I mean fuck it, why not, got to be better than here.

Annoying though, as this is the first time I'd been able to get out since mid January and I had been really looking forward to it. So for it to be a damp squib was highly demoralising, and I doubt now if I'll go again until February. Nick and Dan gamely carried on, but I didn't hear much news out of them for the rest of the day, so it was probably as I feared. Crap. We need something to happen, for the countryside to plunge to sub-zero temperatures and force all birds into Wanstead, where we will welcome them with open arms. Or Nick will anyway. Is the rest of the country this bad at the moment? My phone no longer allows twitter to convert into text messages, thus I no longer hear about rare birds as I can't be arsed to load up twitter all the time. There could be a Gyr Falcon down the road and I would have no idea about it. On the plus side, not long 'til the Wheatears come back, which is basically what 98% of patch workers are waiting for at this point. Anything is else is merely going through the motions.

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