January – rain stopped play

I am suffering from bird deprivation!

I’ve seen under 90 species of bird so far this year.  My visit to the Exe Estuary and a boat trip was rained off.  My visit to the north Norfolk coast was rained off. My visit to the Nene Washes was curtailed by the rain.

I was so desperate that I went for a walk in a wood – a wood! In January!  My walk of just over an hour provided me with 13 species – the same as the hour spent looking at my own garden in BGBW – and quite a large overlap of species too.

February has got to be better than this – please.

But three quarters of the species I have seen have been within a few miles of home and that’s something about which I am quite pleased.

Tell me you are having a richer start to your 2014 year of wildlife…   You must be!

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16 Replies to “January – rain stopped play”

  1. Really strange as our garden has had very few birds this year(everyone in the neighborhood feeds them)until yesterday when a massive influx of all the common garden birds came for some reason staying most of the day and emptying the feeders.

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  2. Walking through an ancient copse this gloaming, a tree crashed to the ground a few feet away causing the dog to elevate a foot off the ground as she was busy hoovering among the leaves. This was worth witnessing, as usually fallen trees fall when no-one is watching.

    Continuing where we are not allowed to walk, we put up a lot of Goonies and a lot were taking flight from us from their roosts in the taller trees. Suddenly there was a tremendous communal Goonie sqauwking as a very fast, very dark, BOP shot through the canopy and disappeared. I've seen it before - but it moves too fast for me to get a clear view of it. Any ideas?

    Apart from that, mostly the usual garden boyds, although I haven't seen LTTs on the suet blocks before. And there were two redwings in the garden borders a few days ago.

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  3. Wow, I have been thinking the same thing Mark. There has been little happening on my local patch and the surrounding town with the consequence that I have only two owls, redpoll and siskin that I need to mop up for the usual suspects. None of these are difficult but the weather has prevented me getting to the sites and/or out at the times required. I managed a trip to the Fleetwood area a few weeks ago to tick off species that usually need a more specialised trip such as The Wirral and I am hoping for a trip to Blackpool south next week for Ribble stuff but my year list stalled at under 80 after racing up within a few days. Unusually, the Fleetwood trip turned out to be wetter than forecast but its was also a bit too still so ironically, the weather was too good on the day. Sheesh! I guess you can't have it both ways after all.

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  4. Hi Mark, I have been taking part in the Footit Challenge during January. This has involved walking out from my home in East Lincs to see as many species as possible. I had a target of 100 species and have seen 101 having walked 196 miles, birding on 20 out of 31 days. Also submitted 38 birdtrack lists and 1166 records in total. There are plenty of birds about if you get out and look for them! A good waterproof coat is also an advantage!

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  5. Weather B awful, weekend visit to the other half in mid Wales cancelled last weekend and this due to wind and rain. Species seen 98 and no visit to the coast yet, all seen, apart from Black Grouse, within a few miles of home (Harrogate). Its too mild, so no interesting winter wildfowl, too bloody wet, what with ten days field work recently for work I feel I've either got webbed feet or my feet are carrying 5 or six kilos of mud each, oh and I usually have 100+ plus species by the end of January . Plus side three sightings of Otter, two on the "Lake" at work. I can see it now Otter sightings up, work levels reduced as a result.

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  6. Mark - take another look at pheasants - they really are very beautiful birds. Cast aside your prejudices and accept them for what they are. They taste fantastic too!

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    1. Giles - I don't believe Mark has anything against pheasants 'per se'. I believe he is, quite rightly, challenging their place in the British countryside and in such vast numbers.

      Please correct me if I'm wrong Mark!

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    2. Giles - all birds are beautiful, I agree. And I ate a couple of brace of Pheasants over Christmas (with some help) - they were well cooked but not my absolutely favourite meat. It is more to do with their ecological impact - as you well know!

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  7. More rain,worse floods and surprise surprise rspb going to state their policy ref Somerset Levels,begin by saying something like they do not oppose dredging but it will not stop flooding.Well I would think even all those in the levels which by a vast majority have absolutely no connection with rspb know this better than rspb.What all the locals are relatively sure of is the fact that with dredging they are likely to get back to where the flooding is the same as the Levels experienced the latter half of the last century which usually did not cause them massive problems.
    What I find amazing is the rspb thinking they have a big voice in this,let them do what they like on their reserves which in fact is a very small area compared to the vast area of farmland and built up areas.As far as I know the farming community do not try and impose their thoughts on rspb reserves in the Levels so why oh why should rspb think they have a right to impose their views on the vast area of farmland which is always a relatively rich area for birds even with the dredging and this serious flooding cannot be good for anything with all the sewage floating around.

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    1. The policy of inaction and re-wetting of the Moors and Levels, which has been supported and promoted stealthily for so long, has backfired rather badly and their land-holding is now as dead as everyone else's.

      Wildlife at the fringes of habitation in the Moors and Levels has always been supported by sewage. Walk by a rhyne on any warm summer evening and no-one's nose can fail to detect the delicate whiff of cheat-pipes overflowing from cesspits. This behaviour of householders is considered NFH (normal for Highbridge).

      I see The PoW is due to visit the area. They have never been so many headless chickens running around in their back yard - I hope they are all rounded up and taken to Secret World to be cared for.

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  8. Hi Mark - I saw two green finches and a song thrush in my garden this week - not very exciting to anyone else, but I haven't seen either species around here for ages, and the last greenfinch I saw last year was badly diseased. These two looked perfectly healthy, so I hope that is a good omen for the coming year.

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  9. Sorry a bit off subject but GWCTs The Big Farmland Bird Count starts today.
    Lets hope for really good news.

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  10. Dennis I think it a good thing that this count is taking place as it will no doubt involve some who are not involved in BTO or RSPB surveys and indeed some land that is new too but will it tell us anything new? That I doubt very much.

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  11. Paul,actually I agree with everything you say,the more interest from farmers in the birds around them is bound to be beneficial,of course in a strange way things may look better than other counts because I feel sure a secondary benefit of shooting is more farmland birds are in that area.
    That does not mean I am a shooter or even a supporter.

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