Thursday 25 March 2021

Fine By Me...

Laughing Gull is a hard act to follow, and so it has proved. The past week's birding has mostly been a series of nice walks. Which is fine. After all, red-letter days need to be just that, don't they?

Even the photos are a bit so-so...

A local Greenfinch attempting gravitas.

Sunny Portland, from cloudy West Bexington.

Jay, from the living room window. A house photographic first, in a tenth-rate sort of way.

I've been keeping a 2021 Garden List, but adding to it has been like pulling teeth. Excluding the nocmig-only birds it has stagnated at a paltry 36. Heard-only Tawny Owl is the most recent addition. However, my commitment level is not what it was 12 months ago, when lockdown really meant lockdown. Even so, curiosity will make me keep it going.

Curiosity is probably what's making me bother with a local list too. Considering the potential, my current total of 98 is a bit poor but probably an accurate reflection of effort. I mean, any diligent lister would have seen Goldcrest months ago, right?

Still, despite my rather slack work ethic I've managed to learn a couple of things this year. For example, I can now do distant female Cirl Bunting on pretty rubbish binocular views...

This female Cirl Bunting was both distant and partially obscured, but that bright pale spot on the ear coverts is a dead giveaway. Since January 1st I've been carefully checking any streaky female Yellowhammer types, and they never seem to show it. At range it is easily the most obvious feature. I don't suppose it's diagnostic, but any bird which has it most definitely wants checking further!

My current Wheatear tally is six. This morning I saw my first female, but the photos are dire, so have some males instead...

The next week's weather forecast holds little promise of a migrant influx, so I guess it'll still be a case of simply enjoying a pleasant walk in beautiful surroundings and taking whatever comes. That's fine by me.


  1. Hi Gav, Yet another thought provoking post. The list? At our stage in the adventure, surely that collected data should be the result of enjoying the adventure rather than the catalyst for obsessive pursuit of numbers? My 2021 garden list is proving far more enjoyable than anything I experienced during those crazy "Kent Listing" days of the 1990's. - Dyl

    1. Couldn't agree more, Dyl. Any list I'm going to keep these days will be a product of curiosity rather than a motivating force. I've never found 'chasing' a list to be a particularly satisfying endeavour. Too easy to end up a slave to the thing.

  2. We have one foot firmly planted in Spring but the next step is dithering. But I got pleasure this morning watching a siskin defending 'its' feeder as it saw off a number of goldfinches. Feisty little bugger, all the others were very docile.

    1. I love Siskins; very characterful. 😊
      Think you're right about spring. It's going to be slow to get going...