Wednesday, 17 March 2021

The coastal visit can't come soon enough

I'm still walking the valley most days, it's now over two weeks since I had my vaccine with just the one bad day following it and Monday will bring the three weeks threshold meaning I'd expect to have a fairly strong immune response should I be exposed to the virus. The government is set to announce the next step out of lockdown to commence on 29th March. The other home nations have already set out their next steps and most allow more freedom of movement and I can't wait for a little more freedom and hopefully enough to visit the coast. We started the year in tier four and that allowed for local movement so enabled me to visit Beckton and Rainham but since 5th January when we moved into a national lockdown I've just birded the Lee valley just a couple of miles from home with the exception of my outdoors social meet up at Cely Wood last week which is also within the guidelines.

The Long-tailed Skua in Sheffield would in normal times have attracted my attention as it's been showing well for the toggers over a few days. I'd also have liked to have visited the Rustic Bunting at Thursley that's been showing really well in recent weeks. Then there's the life ticks that I'd have chased in normal times which include the Mockingbird in Devon and the Social Plover in Cornwall. I'm about a hundred year ticks down on usual end of March numbers missing far too many to list but the one big local one is Yellowhammer. The farm I walk a few times a week has Yellowhammers and they are there I just can't find one and haven't even heard one singing yet.

For now I continue to stay local and celebrate the fact we've had some good birds on the patch this winter namely a couple of Short-eared Owls, a female Ring-necked Duck, Cattle and Great White Egrets and a pair of Smew.

The year list remains at just 112 ready to kick on as the spring migrants arrive locally or we get the freedom of movement we desperately need.

Cattle Egret eating a frog at Hall marsh scrape

A young Cormorant drying off at Holyfield Lake

The Hall marsh banded demoiselle sculpture

Dunnock on the fence at Fishers Green

Great White Egret at Cornmill meadow

Great White

The Heron that cleaned out my pond this week

Muntjac at Fishers Green

Red Kite at Holyfield farm

The Short-eared Owls still on site yesterday but no sign today

Squirrell at Gunpowder park

Water rail Hall marsh scrape

Wigeon on Cornmill meadow

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