23 January 2015

You say you want a resolution?

New Year's resolutions are - and let's be frank here - an utter waste of time. Useless. Pointless. Not worth the paper, or pixels, on which they are written.

Of course I'm sure you're the exception that proves the rule - that wilful chap or chap-ess who turned their whole life around with a heartfelt promise made on the stroke of midnight. 

But for the rest of us, we have a different tale to tell; the shared experience of repeated failure, self-loathing and recrimination.

So you'd think I'd have managed to kick the resolution habit by now, and to be fair I have. By and large. 

Unfortunately one crept under the radar this year: a commitment to get some proper birding in and strive for a decent county year list. 

And, in common with all New Year's resolutions, this one is already disastrously stricken; holed beneath the water line and listing (ahem) precariously to port. In short, yet another resolution is set to be wrecked before the last week of January has even begun.

A Winter Dunlin (photo: Andrew C)
Just how wrong has it gone? Well, the sum total of this year's birding to date has been two short family trips to Brandon Marsh, a bit of garden birding and a walk around the office.

So not much then.

This means the county list so far includes little more than my garden regulars, the routine Brandon wildfowl and gulls, the obvious farmland birds I've seen while out cycling, and only a couple of even-slightly-less-than-common sightings: a lone dunlin at Brandon on New Year's Day; a flock of lesser redpoll; and a shelduck today on East Marsh.

I'll still count it all when I get a moment, and endeavour to do better in the coming weeks and months.

But my hopes aren't necessarily that high.

Bird of the fortnight: Dunlin (Calidris alpina), a common and unremarkable wader, but not so much so in land-locked, winter-locked Warwickshire. All the more unremarkable to look at in winter for the lack of the black belly patch it sports throughout the breeding season.

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