Monday, 1 February 2021

Lockdown January

Covid case rates continue to drop, hospital admissions continue to drop but people are still catching the virus and sadly people continue to lose their lives to the damn thing. We now have cases of the new "South African" strain to contend with too. The vaccine programme continues at pace with over nine million people now having had the jab including my son who has a lengthy contract inside a hospital so has been vaccinated today. I hope things continue to improve and soon we can start to travel again as this local lockdown is tough and I still long for a trip to the coast.

Reviewing my year list for January it sits at a healthy 106 which is more than I expected having only travelled a few miles from home this year but when compared to previous years it's well short and can be mostly put down to missing those coastal trips.

My ten year average for January is 149 with a worst of 128 (2014) and a best of 167 (2020)                    I mentioned missing the coast and in all of those ten years I've never failed to see the following in January until this crazy year of continued lockdown restrictions.

Oystercatcher, Golden, Grey and Ringed Plover

Knot, Sanderling, Ruff, Bar-tailed Godwit and Turnstone

Brent Geese, Pink Footed Geese  and Bewick's Swans

Grey Partridge and Tree Sparrow

Common Scoter Red-breasted Merganser, and Long-tailed Duck

Fulmar, Gannet and Kittiwake 

Guillemot, Razorbill and Red Throated Diver

Black-necked Grebe

Corn and Snow Bunting

Hen Harrier, Barn Owl and Merlin

Bearded, Coal and Marsh Tit

Hawfinch, Nuthatch and Twite

Great-white Egret

Then there's the birds I see in January most years but not this year of local lockdown and these include

Shorelark

Waxwing

Bittern

Whooper Swan

Yellowhammer

Great Northern Diver

Purple Sandpiper

Crossbill

Green Sandpiper

Slav Grebe and Red-necked Grebe

Red-crested Pochard.

Rough-legged Buzzard

So It's quite evident that I'm missing the coast and the large majority of the above could have been added if travel was permitted but I'm quite excited at the prospect of the time coming later in the year when I can connect with these birds. Let's hope we continue to drop infection rates and the vaccine roll out has the desired results in protecting the most vulnerable. I can see myself standing on the shingle bank of Dungeness watching Gannets, Auks and Divers. I can see the waders on the tideline at Titchwell, I can almost hear the Bitterns calling at Lakenheath and I know there's plenty of good days birding to come the minute we get the green light again.

In the mean time I'm extremely lucky to have the Short-eared Owls showing locally and yesterday I had a Woodcock fly over whilst watching the Owls. Today I had a really large mixed flock of Redwing and Fieldfare numbering a hundred plus. The resident Stonechats are busy and very mobile and the Corvid roost was very vocal tonight and it's great on the dull days to have the park virtually to myself to appreciate the sights and sounds it has to offer. The Roding is flooded and ruled out for walks so the park remains my go to place in these strangest of times. 

Year list now 106

Short-eared Owl

Onwards and upwards, keep safe guys.


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