Showing posts from December, 2014

Goodbye 2014

So the last hurrah of 2014 ended on the most beautiful of winter days - the kind of day that dispels the longing for Spring, for warm evenings and extended daylight hours.  And having bumped into @porthkillier on the way round, it was a pleasure to share a great mornings birding.

So it started at Lockwood where a very vocal Kingfisher once again flashed up stream near to the sluice, and a Song Thrush skulked within the shelter of the foliage.  On the water, a drake Goldeneye was present with three females, six Gadwall flew out from the waters edge, and numerous Black Headed Gulls were sharing the banks with around 50 Common Gull.  Five Chiffchaff were seen along the tree line to the west of Lockwood along with two Goldcrest.

A patch first was a female Goosander that took flight a few moments after seeing it swim close to the bank at the north end.  Fortunate really as three had already taken flight towards Banbury that included two drakes.

Onto High Maynard where three flighty Grey Wa…

Local Birding

It had been a while since I had ventured onto the patch - a mixture of apathy, weather, work - being lulled into feeling that this more like the sporting off-season.  The end of November, and December feels a bit transitional.  It is a time of year where surprises can be found on local patches.  I remember my first ever Leach's Petrel on Startop's Reservoir (Tring) in early December back in 2006.  Not that I was thinking that similar fortunes would fall my way.

So anyway, a combination of a tough end to a working week, blue winter skies, and a text from @jarpartridge - I headed up to Lockwood where the light was brilliant, the breeze brisk, and the prescence of a good selection of birds.

Approaching Lockwood, a vocal Kingfisher flashed past me along the channel, and a male Sparrowhawk flew low eyes fixed on its prey.  A few Common Gull were mixing in with the Black-Headed Gull but no sign of the Med that had been seen the previous day.

A patch tick for me were the Goldeneye, a…

Turning Forty - Extremadura

Age is just a number.  Not unless you turn forty it aint.  So I made it to the big 4-0 which still doesn't compute with me but I will just have to trust the integrity of the date on my birth certificate.  Those who said you will not feel any different were guilty of lies against humanity.  I felt totally different.  Every time I closed my eyes I could see those two numbers etched onto the inside of my eyelids.  I felt panicky, queasy, time has slipped by into middle-age and I'm still no clearer on what to do when I grow up.  I think that's it.  I've turned forty and I've not grown up.  Maybe it's time to start shouting at other people's children and ironing my underwear.  There are things to look forward to after all. 
The plan then for said birthday.  A four day trip to Extremadura to ease the pain.
A champagne breakfast at Heathrow's Terminal Five overlooking the westerly apron and watching the planes disappear into the low cloud as they departed fro…