Tuesday, 1 January 2013

A New Year...

First of all to anyone who reads this, and I think there is one or two, happy new year and hope you had a nice Christmas period. It's been over a week now since I have been back from Finland and I have been finding it a bit difficult to adjust but I'm getting used to it. I returned home to the Highlands via a couple days spent at my Dad's in Northumberland and was hoping to get an afternoon bird watching on the Saturday (22/12) but no chance of that as the weather was horrendous with heavy rain and strong winds.

I was a bit apprehensive about the drive home the next day but the weather turned out not too bad once past Edinburgh and plenty of Buzzards were seen sitting on various fence posts in the sun and a nice highlight was a Red Grouse sitting beside the A9 road just past Dalwhinnie.

Most of the last week was busy with Christmas and festive commitments but by Friday (28/12) I had some time to myself and I already knew what the first job was. Whilst I was away there hasn't really been anyone at the house regularly and the ones who have been were too busy to maintain the bird feeders. So I got my gloves on and gave the bird table and all the feeders a good clean with disinfectant and bought some food when in Inverness from Simpsons garden centre. I don't think the birds knew what had hit them. From no food at all to suet cakes, 2 x peanut feeders, niger seed, fat balls, suet mix and, a first for me, dried mealworms (going for a £1 a bag at the local pound shop). It didn't take long for the birds to come flooding back even though it is pretty mild here this winter. Over the last 3 days there has been, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Siskin, Robin, Dunnock, Blackbird, Starling, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove and House Sparrow all feeding. Two observations I found interesting were the amount of Blue Tits with up to 12 at the same time and up to 3 visits by a flock of 21 Long-tailed Tits where every single one had been ringed.

Today of course is New Year's Day which means starting with a clean slate in terms of lists. I had planned to go out for a walk but again the weather was miserable with regular heavy showers and wind. Still managed 22 species just from the house including Buzzard and Red Kite and there were 3 stunning male Bullfinches feeding in the Rowan trees just outside the garden. First bird of 2013 was a Blue Tit which I am pretty sure was the same as last year but I will have to check.

Hope to get out soon if the weather becomes a bit more settled, still have to do my first survey for the BTO Winter Thrushes survey and start to visit my WeBS areas again. There is also quite a lot to do on this blog as I plan to write an annual review of 2012 and also a review of my time in Finland. I also need to update the banner (as I am no longer in Finland unfortunately) and start a new list. But hopefully this year will be just as interesting with possible trips to Poland and Czech Republic and after June when my degree is complete who knows where I will end up.

So again Happy New Year and expect some more interesting (hopefully) posts very soon and heres to some interesting nature encounters again this year.

The Anti-Social Birder.

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