30 December 2011

Thank goodness for the birds

A combination of seasonal fun, seasonal sniffles and seasonal weather has prevented any fishing since the first week of December. While this has been frustrating, my other great love - birdwatching - has continued to deliver plenty of pleasure.

The birds have come through the usual combination of planned trips and chance encounters. As we set off for our Xmas holiday with family in Essex we were 'flapped' on our way by a large flock of lapwing over fields near Napton.

Once in Essex we were accompanied everywhere we went by huge flocks of fieldfare and redwings, and a visit to Hatfield Forest was brightened by a fly-by kingfisher.

Finally, J and I actually managed a trip to Brandon Marsh today, our first in quite some time. Despite the cold and the constant rain, we spent a very pleasant couple of hours in the hides studying the gulls, ducks and waders, with highlights including a pair of goldeneyes and some very well hidden snipe.

Bird of the season: Snipe, a wonderful little wading bird which manages on the one hand to be as distinctive and striking as you could wish, and on the other hand is as discreet and camoflagued as you could imagine possible.

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