Happy New Year and bleugh!
I provisionally had a plan to wake up nice and early and get the bird scoreboard (Dare I call it a ‘Scorebird?) ticking over, but this didn’t happen… My head hurt, my guts ached and my eyes didn’t seem to want to let me look at things. I think my seeing out the old year with a medley of beer, champagne and excessive sausage rolls had taken a bit of a toll on my general well-being.
I could hear birds outside the window, but I couldn’t even lift my head off the pillow. My mission would have to wait until I was a little bit more alive, so I went back to sleep.
A couple of hours later I re-awoke and felt okay enough to have a peek out of the window. I was intrigued as to what would be the first bird I would see. What feathered species would kick off my 2014?
I pulled the blind to one side and craned my neck into a position where I could see into the garden… The rain was lashing down and there didn’t appear to be a lot going on. Eventually, I located a Carrion Crow at the top of a nearby tree… My camera took a picture that, almost perfectly, portrayed just how much I was struggling to see through a haze of hangover!
The weather was terrible and all I managed to add to the list in the next half hour was a Wood Pigeon, Feral Pigeon and a Collared Dove – Clearly all other types of birds hide away during inclement weather… Or had January 1st hangovers like me.
I had imagined that today would be the day I got my single best daily return for the whole year – The day when I went for a wander around a pond and through some woodland, spotting between thirty and forty of Britain’s commonest birds in one fell swoop. The rain and wind were likely to spoil this. This is probably not the only time this year I will type the phrase “Bloody Weather!”
The rain abated (a little) and I decided to take a wander down to the lakes at Earlswood Common – which would probably be one of my favourite places in the world if I was the sort of person who listed that type of thing… There was a gaggle of about thirty Canada Geese looking absolutely miserable. It’s a good indication of how bad the weather has been of late that even the waterfowl look to have had enough of water.
All the expected birds were present – Mallard, Mute Swan, Moorhen etc. – and, excitingly, I managed to catch a glimpse of a Kingfisher. They don’t look quite as dazzlingly blue in the dour gloom that the weather had inflicted on the world, but it was still a special sight and was considerably less grey than everything else around.
After totting-up my sightings list, I had started 2014’s bird quest with a solid twenty, which, given the weather and a hangover, was pretty good…