Walking before I can crawl

January 2nd 2012

My first day of January was a write off, unfortunately not due to a mega new year hangover, but due to a severe case of Man Flu. This resulted in me not getting out of the house and meaning my list consisted of:

  1. Magpie
  2. Feral Pigeon (Pigeons to “normal” people)
  3. Blackbird

These were all viewed from Josie’s car, i should also add here that i think its going to be a very dangerous year for driving with either Jo or myself, any time something flutters we both look up and try to identify the ball of fluff that has flown past the window. It is also here that i need to point out that unless we are 100% sure that the bird is what we have said it is, we cannot count it towards the total. Therefore i missed out on some sort of gull (yes there is more than one type apparently all different in the minutest of ways) and due to my aforementioned identification problems it flew off before i could say anything apart from GULL! I feel that this will be a common problem over the coming months and i apologise now to any passengers that happen to be in the car at the time.

As my start to the year wasn’t the best, i decided i needed to seek some help and advice from other sources (thank you Mr Google) and found a website http://www.birdforum.net and was told about http://www.goingbirding.co.uk (thank you Jo) these websites flag up all recent sightings in the country and how rare they are. This is when i saw the perfect start to the year in front of me…The Dark-Eyed Junco… it would blow my Feral Pigeon out of the water! I told Jo (working together at the start to get some confidence), and together with her Mum set off for the New Forest in search of the little grey bird.

Upon arrival we got to see the perfect example of what 99% of the population think a “twitcher” is, a man pulled up, muttering to himself in his car, literally jumped out and did the best dad run you’ll ever see, talking to himself the entire way to where the rest of the birders were waiting, lenses out. We walked up and joined them, scanning the three trees in front of me so i looked like i should be there. I should point out here that i immediately felt out of my depth, i had stumbled upon a rare bird and these people seemed to know their stuff. I had no binoculars and more importantly had no idea.

To cut a long story short, the bird wasn’t seen in the hour that we were there, i borrowed josie’s “binos” and saw some birds, but the problem with experienced birders is that they don’t take interest in them and it felt out of place to ask what they were, so no more for the list, im 70% sure that i saw a reed bunting, but not the required 100%, so another wasted journey. In fact the most “bird” action that i got was a woman in her 50s at a Garden Centre in Beaulieu grabbing my bum as she thought i was her husband, sums up the day!

So, two days down and all i have is the three mentioned at the start with the added bonus of a Buzzard spotted in the car. (so far the best hide)

A change of tact is needed and starting from basics, better learn to crawl before i even contemplate walking!

Chris

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