Friday, 31 January 2014

I did it!

Yes I managed to see at least one new Year tick every day in January, and all but one were in Devon! Yesterday I was lucky enough to see Lesser Scaup and today, well, today it simply poured down with rain (just for a change!). Just the sort of weather to go out birding. Optics get wet and smeary on the lens, clothes get saturated, feet get covered in mud and the cold damp gets into your very bones! Oh, and it was blowing a hoolie. Just the sort of weather you need when you just desire that one new Year tick to achieve your objective.. Now before you set a mental picture of yours truly slumping around in driving rain, mud up to the waist, bins lens filling up with gallons of water with not a bleddy bird in sight, perhaps I should enlighten you. I drove up to Darts Farm at lunchtime and driving down the track to the fishing pools and bird 'hide' I was aware that there were lots of Chaffinches on the feeders suspended from the trackside trees and in the adjacent 'field'. I stopped in the middle of the track, trained my bins and was lucky enough to get on to a female Brambling for a few seconds before the whole flock got up and flew over to the other side of the field. The car heater was on, the rain was on beating the other side of the car and I hadn't even been hit by a solitary raindrop! Elated and relieved at the same time. Happy to have achieved my goal. Relieved I don't have to dash anywhere to find another Year tick if I don't feel like it. Just to celebrate, I drove on down to the pools, donned my wet weather gear and optics and took shelter under the 'hide' (really it's a blind with a roof). A large flock of Brent Geese were feeding just in front of the hide and Wigeon, Teal, Black-tailed Godwits and Curlews were all busy feeding in the vicinity. A few Chaffinches, Greenfinches and Goldfinches were 'sheltering' in the nearby bushes and a Chiffchaff made a welcome appearance about 10feet from my position! So what now? I'm going to enjoy the rest of my year's birding, particularly working my local patch (Exmouth Civil Parish) and pottering off to enjoy any good birds that happen to turn up around the Exe estuary. Of course if something mindblowing turns up elsewhere in Devon and the surrounding counties then I will have to go, especially if it's a Lifer!

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