Wednesday, 30 September 2020

A good September and looking forward to October

These are the strangest of times and I need the hobby more than ever. The virus seems to have taken a grip again following the advise of government with people being asked to return to the office, trust public transport again, the return of schools and uni, the promotion of eat out to help out and an endless list of gatherings for various protests and of course elements of social distancing being stretched by some.

We now face a reintroduction of restrictions with gatherings limited to six and a request to work from home if possible, avoid public transport if you can and the early closure of hospitality venues prompting yet more protests about liberty etc. It feels to me like we had a reasonable summer after the full spring lockdown and I'm grateful for that. The weather was great and allowed for meeting family outside which was more than welcome. The virus has sadly touched my family and we've also had the very difficult responsibility of moving my wifes elderly mother into care which is hard at any time but even more concerning in these times. We have been able to visit the care home with outdoor visits once a week using temperature checks and full PPE to protect the care home which to date has had no cases of the virus in residents or carers but as the weather turns that situation may change. 

We will have a much tougher autumn and winter. We're seeing local lockdowns all over the country with some areas now restricting movement in or out of those areas without very good reason. In other areas there are bans on mixing households again and that will be difficult to handle if it comes to our town as the father in law really needs our support. I feel a full lockdown at some point will sadly be reintroduced if we are to get the virus back under control and save lives through the cold months.

Back to birding and September proved to be a pretty good month, I managed a few days out but with the restrictions on holidays abroad and various self isolation requirements our coast line was full of staycationers and was to be avoided at all costs but of course many of the best birding sites are also on these coastlines. I managed a few days and managed to get myself away from the crowds. I added three life ticks by twitching Greenish Warbler at Holme, Brown Shrike at Warham Greens and a Short-toed Lark in Surrey. I also added Wryneck, Pectoral Sandpiper, Red-breasted Flycatcher and Barred Warbler from the expected September targets and bonus ticks with a late Gropper and early Lapland Bunting all of which moved the year list to a respectable 258.

Brown Shrike finally hit the life list in September

I move now to thoughts of October and over the last decade I've had some great October ticks which include

Some great birds but I'm mostly watching Sparrows at the moment

So the above list is evidence that October brings with it some cracking birds and this October will no doubt be equally productive, question is will they be accessible during the onset of further Covid related restrictions. Any hope of a birding holiday has vanished as it seems irresponsible in these difficult times. I'd love to spend some time in Scotland and had thought this might be the year I got to finally experience an October on Scilly but the virus has made me rethink that option and save it for another year.

Well that's my quick catch up for the end of September and here's to a decent October.

Stay well guys

Grey Catbird

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