What a lovely start to the birding year Lord H and I have had. Last year we managed to spot 160 different types of birds and this year our aim is 170. Bird of the Year for 2008 was definitely that waxwing, by the way. Yesterday we popped up to the London Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust for a guided walk with the Surrey Wildlife Trust. Not many people on the walk, but it was great, and we managed to spot a grand total of 41 birds, hurrah. Including the rarely spotted Jack Snipe (which is a totally new one for us). Result! Mind you, the centre was full of crazed and slightly sad birders (um, including us actually ...) desperate to get going on a whole new birding year. Lordy, but we're sad, I know. But at least the rest of the world is clear for everyone else - you know where all the birdwatchers are and can safely go on normal outings ... We also managed to see a peregrine falcon, a kestrel and the usual crew of coots, moorhens, tits and chaffinches, etc etc.
However, do not panic. Hopefully, we'll all calm down by next week and stop hyperventilating at the sight of a sparrow, getting our pencils (no, really, that's not a euphemism, absolutely not ...) out and madly ticking it off on our list. One assumes. Ye gods, yesterday, even a wood pigeon was exciting and that's saying something.
Anyway, to today. We've been out at Rainham Marshes as they have a small supply of wintering penduline tits, which look very much like bearded tits, but without the beards. And no, dammit, we didn't spot either a penduline or a bearded tit, though we spent several happy and chilly hours with countless other desperate birders staring at a reed bed and grunting occasionally. Well, it keeps me off the streets of Godalming, you know, so it can't be all bad. And at least we managed a chiffchaff, some ringed plovers, godwits and a zillion dunlin. So, 55 birds in total over 2 days, which is nearly a third of our aim. At this rate, by next week, we'll be there, so it'll be time to take off the boots and crack open the champagne, Carruthers. Well, there's always hope eh ..
This morning's meditation poem is:
Cover my life
Hammer them out
and place one
at my beginning
and one at my end.
Stretch their wings
wide, wide then
over my days
so I may hide
Plus I'm thinking about getting new binoculars. I'd like some that give me more clarity in the evenings (Lordy but really we can all do with more clarity in the evenings, I fear ...) as with the ones I have now I'm struggling to see Lord H in poor light, let alone anything else. And tonight, I really need to do some cleaning, but I'm not sure how enthusiastic I am about it. As ever, Domestic Goddess is most definitely not on my resolution list.
Today's nice things:
2. Thinking about new binoculars
Anne's website - getting 2009 off to a flying start, ho ho ...