Thursday 6 April 2023


A four day weekend is nearly upon us, and during 'prime time' too. I am not working, I am not travelling, I am here and I am looking forward to it. I will likely stay here, in Wanstead, and see very little. As usual. A day of seeing nothing though might see me looking further afield, the draw of the coast.... perhaps I will consult online birding weather sages as to where to go? Hopefully the North-east is not their answer. You will no doubt have noticed, as I have, that Norfolk's star seems to have waned. Once upon a time it seemed to be the only place you needed to go. Start at Holme, finish at Sheringham, a full day birding top sites west to east, mopping up a cornucopia of juicy arrivals. Nowadays everything seems to touch down at Hartlepool.

Wanstead has had minimal juice - a Great White Egret flew over a fews days ago but I was not here to see it. I was not too bothered, happy where I was. I have seen several over the patch, but for me the real prize is now the house list and one day I hope to see it from here. This list is marooned on 98, and perhaps one or other of the southern Egrets will feature as 99 or 100? We were having this conversation just the other day, that surely Cattle Egret will fall soon. Flocks of hundreds in the South-west, a regular feature as close as Rainham, and southern wetlands drying up at an alarming rate. My focus tomorrow and onwards will be on humbler fare though. Sand Martins, Swallows, maybe a Willow Warbler. Most migrants have been in excrutiatingly short supply locally, but there is a puff of wind from the south east on Sunday and maybe that will be the catalyst for movement.

Even if there had been gazillions of fresh arrivals here I would not have seen them. Poor health continues to plague me. A tough cold in mid February was followed by food poisoning in mid March which took a week to subside. No sooner had I rid myself of that when Covid struck me down, my second visitation from this vile plague. That took a week to get rid of, though I am still coughing today, and just as I felt better from that I had an attack of diverticulitis, an unpleasant occasional consequence of a short section of my lower intestines being a bit shot (I will spare you the grisly details). This went on for over a week, prolonged you would have to say by my own stubborn stupidity, and only earlier this week did I start to feel I had turned the corner after a short spell of sunshine and rest (clue: I wasn't here). So a torrid run and I have been feeling a bit sorry for myself. My parents, bless them, are still here to lecture me, and so this is all my fault for repeatedly burning the candle at both ends and thinking I am still 30 and not nearly 50. They may have a point, but of course I could never admit that.

Perhaps more of this and less running around like an idiot?

Anyway, a relaxing four days of birding is mere hours away and I am very much looking forward to it. The trouble with birding though is that it requires early starts...

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