Friday 23 April 2021

Details, details

The wind continues to blow from the east. The skies are clear, the mornings are cold, and the birds are thin on the ground. I mean there are birds, but the number of migrants is well below par. The odd bird is creeping through regardless of the conditions, but this is mid to late April don't forget. It should be amazing, prime time. Instead it is a struggle, slow, unrewarding. Yes I know, moan moan moan. It is just such a strange year. On the one hand I've seen more locally than I've ever seen before, yet the overwhelming feeling each and every day is of underachievement. If I had to choose a birdy word to describe what it feels like on the patch it would be something along the lines of "dead". Perhaps that is harsh? Perhaps "quiet" would be better, after all there are now lots of Whitethroats, Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs singing, but it is somehow unsatisfying, as if the big pulse of northbound migrants has yet to happen and may simply pass us by. Every day that passes I go home thinking "maybe tomorrow?", every day I think that surely the "big day" must be getting closer, but tomorrow has yet to come. Who knows, no two years are ever the same.

The highlights of a three hour four mile trudge today were four Yellow Wagtails. No Waders. No Wheatears. No hirundines. Nothing new at all. The 5.30am alarm calls are getting harder by the day. Still, there is always tomorrow.

With little to hold the interest I ended up looking at our common residents a little more closely today. I cannot say that I have ever noticed this before but the very top of Moorhen's legs are red. Did you know that? I don't think I did, but look at this:

I much prefer
Moorhens to Coots. I think it something to do with aggression, which I don't like. Coots are always trying to kill each other. Moorhens seem somehow gentler, more refined. Or maybe it is just that I have half a bottle of Pernand-Vergelesses in me? Anyway, must go to sleep, another early start tomorrow. No doubt it will be monumental once again...


  1. Dire here too. It's the variety of wine that's keeping me going! Good weather for gardening though....

  2. Just a thought.
    But would all or any birders be willing to do an evening collective trip to Tunbridge Wells in about a months time- just to see the Nightjars. Would be great. Maybe we could contact the Surrey birders who know the local Nightjar hotspots. Regards Mahindar

    1. Hello Mahindar. Not for me I'm afraid in these uncertain times. Tunbridge Wells is in Kent and I've not been there for Nightjar that I can recall, however I have seen them at a place called Fagg's Wood. In Surrey I have found them at Headley Heath which is also a good spot for Woodlark, Tree Pipit and so on. I expect that Thursely Common (also in Surrey) would have a population. Hope this helps.