Thursday 4 January 2024

Creeping up

After spending the first day of 2024 not birding in Wanstead, my patch list stood at two on the morning of the 2nd. Time to get to work. The weather being a bit so so, and me being very much a fair-weather birder, at least locally, I was limited to looking out of the window at home before I went to work. Nothing surprising at all, but I found I could hear two separate Song Thrushes, and all the regular Gulls flew over. I ended on 15, upped to 16 on the commute with a Stock Dove on the way to the tube. Meanwhile all my birding compatriots having diligently flogged the patch on Monday were on about 50. I am not too concerned, this is a marathon and I am good at those. Not running ones obviously. I recently found out that I came top of last year's patch list which I wasn't expecting, and this despite no Snipe, Wigeon or Lapwing. It wasn't a great year for anyone by the sounds of it, including for Nick who usually wipes the floor with all of us by virtue of being out all day every day. With the amount of time I spend off patch I am amazed I stayed in the game, but I did put a lot of effort in when I was here. There is no prize beyond kudos, and barely any of that, so we have all reset to zero and are starting again. Hurrah!

So January 2nd wasn't great but it started to come together on January 3rd when there was a brief gap in the constant deluge. I got out on the Flats nice and early and did a complete circuit before going to work. Nothing spectacular, but Chaffinch and Greenfinch were a little unexpected (this is a measure of how dire it is at the moment) and I ended up on 38 before catching the Elizabeth line in.

This morning there was another brief gap in the weather and so I headed out on my annual foray to Bush Wood. In about an hour I managed to pick up both regular Woodpeckers, both Crests, and Nuthatch, and as I was working from home today Collared Dove fell pretty easily. I  also stopped by the Basin for Great Crested Grebe whilst running an errand at lunchtime. 45. 

My January average is 63, with a max of 72, so there is still a long way to go. I confess I am not feeling it very much though. Northern Waterthrush in Essex? What seems like eons ago I went to Scilly for one of those, one of the best birding weekends I have ever had. Everything falls eventually. I had been wondering if the September storms might have squirreled away some goodies, a bit like that Yellowthroat at Rhiwderin in February 2012, but I hadn't predicted Essex being the place!

Blast from the past. 2011

Anyway, Happy New Year to one and all, hope all your birding wishes come true.

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