Monday 26 February 2018


On Sunday morning I was leaving Oman - by the time the plane left at around 9.30am the temperature was approaching 30 degrees. The previous afternoon it had been 37 degrees. Even the birds that live there seemed to be finding it hot, as this panting Wheatear shows. By the way, if you happen to have a hunch that this is Hume's Wheatear and not a Variable Wheatear, or vice-versa, do please let me know as I am undecided.

This morning could not have been more different. The local birding team had enjoyed a Lapwing bonanza over the weekend, birds pushed from the slowly freezing continent over the channel to the relatively mild UK. It doesn't feel like it, but compared to Europe we're enjoying a bit of a mild spell. So before work I trotted out onto Wanstead Flats to see if I could get in on the action. As it happens I could, and in the hour or so that I had 27 birds flopped over - excellent. It was however absolutely glacial - the snow came in horizontally on a bitter breeze and hiding from it meant missing birds. Oman anywhere slightly below Muscat is officially the tropics - that area where the sun will be directly overhead on at least one day of the year, so to come back to the UK after a nice little break sniffing out Wheatears and other nice birds in sweltering sunshine was a bit of a shock to the system.

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