I have no upcoming New Year's resolutions about how I am going to bird Wanstead like never before. Pointless. I am going to do what I enjoy most at the moment, which is a bit of everything and a fair amount of travel. It will therefore perhaps not surprise you to hear that I am writing this not from Wanstead but from Scotland, where I am passing a few days in a warm house with an Aga. My parent are old and both need and can afford to pay for heating. They are very lucky, and so I am to be here - my own house in Wanstead is basically a fridge for large parts of the day. We can also afford heating but we prefer to use it sparingly for all sorts of reasons. I missed most of the recent cold snap by virtue of being in Lanzarote, more of which later, but I did come back to freezing conditions and a local landscape covered in ice. I dread to think what has happened in my greenhouse as I am not heating that either..... I was too late for the early pulse of Lapwing and Golden Plover, and in Scotland for the most recent birds, but during the two days I was at home I did manage a single bird out of the 400 that passed over.
The patch was beautiful actually, the snow covered all the litter and the crap,and for a few days it looked simply glorious. I walked to work one day across Wanstead Flats - very few birds other than 102 Redwing and 5 Fieldfare, but it was one of those freezing yet clear days that make you glad to be alive and in one piece. I nearly ruined the in one piece part by coming within a whisker of falling over of the ice several times, but managed to recover on each occasion and make it to the train station. This being the UK there were of course no trains. This particular train service, the brand new Elizabeth Line, was not on strike, but fell into line anyway by breaking down. Excellent. I walked half way to work instead as there didn't seem to be many buses and those that did pass were rammed as there were no trains. I should have stayed in Lanzarote.