Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Missing the coast

I'm three weeks into the new year and with the national lockdown still in place I'm still restricted to local exercise to get my birding fix. I'm taking advantage of the fact that I'm allowed out and unlike last March I am taking binoculars with me. On the odd occasion I'll also pop the camera over my shoulder too but the with stories of birders getting warned by the police for stopping to use the scope I'll be leaving that at home for a while.

I'm trying to stay local but the guidelines do give mixed messaging and I find it a little confusing but have adopted the principal that anything under ten miles is local but I try to stay within 5km where I can. I'm around 40 miles from the nearest coast and find myself really missing the usual trips to places like Wallasea, Dunge, Cley, Titchwell, Minsmere etc and of course Abberton is too far even if it is in Essex.

That said I haven't had much to write about with my daily walk mostly being from the front door down to the motorway and back and along the River Roding until that flooded and I had to look a little further for my exercise. I've walked the Lee Valley country park trying to find quiet areas like the farm track etc and had a single trip to Wanstead park where again I find myself walking away from people in order to maintain an extra social distance. Epping Forest would be nice but it's just so incredibly busy with everybody staying local.....guidelines should include the phrase "find somewhere quiet for your walk"

With all this going on I've managed to add a few ticks to the year list.

Lesser Redpoll at Lee Valley along with a Mistle Thrush on the way home

Med Gull and Little Owl from my walk around Wanstead park 

Skylark and Red-legged Partridge from yesterdays walk to the farm and back and a Sparrowhawk in the garden on 19th was a first for the year followed by two more on my walk to the farm in the rain.

A Cormorant coming into it's breeding plumage

Little Owl that saw me a long time before I saw it

The wintering Med Gull on Jubilee Pond

Med Gull

The local Parakeets have decided they do like my feeders now adding both colour and noise

Great spotted Woodpecker a more welcome visitor to the garden

Just a single look at the local Shorties this year but good to know they're still there and feeding well

The year list sits at 101   (down 46 on January 20th 2018 pre Covid.)

I'll try to stay around 5km from home if possible on my walks but have produced the map below to highlight just how restrictive that  guidance is when I'd usually be taking a drive to the coast on a weekly basis.

That tiny green dot is my new focus as opposed to my old two hour rule

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