Dull and flat


What a dull, flat start to 2020 - the weather that is, although the birding wasn't much better. I chickened out of going coastal (couldn't stand the thought of joining the year-listing throng) so tip-toed along to Juniper Bottom to see in the year's first day-break. On arrival at the car park I was greeted by a veritable hoot-off comprising at least nine Tawny Owls that were positioned along the valley. I took up a viewpoint towards the summit of Juniper Top and awaited the dawn - and waited - and waited. It was still virtually dark at 08.00hrs and had hardly brightened an hour later. Little was happening, so I cut my losses and headed for the River Mole at Mickleham, where I walked along the banks to Leatherhead and back, then onto Westhumble. Undoubted highlight were at least seven Goosander (above), which included six males, 13 Little Egret (below) and a Kingfisher. There was very little else, no finch or thrush flocks and little activity in the pockets of woodland that I checked. So far 2020 is not living up to the hype...

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