Showing posts from January, 2023

1980 Part 8: Of committees

After returning home on November 2nd I was back on the shingle a week later, just a quick morning visit that provided two Wheatears, three Black Redstarts and a Firecrest in the moat. It was then on to Elmley, on the Isle of Sheppey, where a wealth of wildfowl included a single White-fronted Goose and three Bewick’s Swans. Wader numbers were high, with 1,000 Dunlins and good numbers of Grey Plovers and Knots, along with two Avocets, two Greenshanks and a Spotted Redshank. In a cold, blue, late-afternoon sky, bathed in sunlight, we sat and watched a minimum of six Short-eared Owls, that hunted over the honey-coloured panorama before us. Back at Beddington, Mike Netherwood had found a Spotted Crake, that was being faithful to one of the large settling beds on 100acre. After a three day wait I saw the bird on November 15th, joining a few other birders sitting on the banking that surrounded the muddy rectangle of vegetated sludge. The crake was oblivious to its admirers, feeding out in the

Starting over

2023 has now greeted us, hopefully to be full of birding promise, my 49th year when clutching a pair of binoculars and a notebook. If I'm being honest, my blind adoption of ornithological positivity on the first day of the year went walk-about several years ago, but I still wander out with a whiff of 'a fresh start' in the air and the misguided assumption that this is the year when it will all come together - the falls of migrants will be spectacular, the finding of rarities effortless and the enjoyment in the field unquestioned. Well, at least the latter will come to pass, even if the other two don't... I do like to have some sort of structure to my natural history year, so I have set myself some self-imposed targets for the next 12 months, hoping to reach the following totals across the Uberpatch: Birds 140 species; Plants 700sp; Moths 500sp; Butterflies 38sp and Dragonflies 18sp. The journey towards trying to attain these totals is the important thing, not the reachi