Wednesday 5 January 2022

New Year Birding

Christmas Day finally reached its orgasmic climax and thank goodness its all over for another year. I actually had the day off for a change, the first time since 2015, and we had a very lovely day spent with Julie and Matt who came round in the afternoon for dinner. However the fact that it was Christmas Day made very little difference to our overall enjoyment of the day and again I'm left wondering what all the over hyper-excitement of Christmas Day is really all about. 

The festive period weather was grey, wet and mild and along with work, family commitments, socialising and a continuing air of can't-be-arsed-ness I didn't do anything remotely wildlife related. 

The New Year duly arrived and I worked a long day on January 1st and on the walk into the hospital at 07:30am I heard Robin and Song Thrush singing away in the misty and mild darkness. Herring Gull and Feral Pigeon were also seen on brief looks out of the staff room window during the day. 

I had the day off on Sunday 2nd January but after the previous days busy shift I felt too tired to do much and so decided to have a quiet day instead and have a walk around Plymouth Hoe. It was grey and windy and within 5 minutes of leaving the house the heavens opened, curtailing our walk somewhat. There was no sign of the Purple Sandpiper on the rocks off The Hoe and the best bird was a Little Grebe on Sutton Harbour. A  Nuthatch and flowering Snowdrops were the highlights on a quick look around Beaumont Park before returning home.

After another exhausting long day shift on Bank Holiday Monday 3rd January I had planned to travel further afield for my first New Years birding day on Tuesday 4th but I was too knackered and so stayed local instead, taking a walk along the River Plym and around Saltram Park. The weather had changed and it was cold and windy with occasional sunny spells and at least it stayed dry for a change although it was very muddy underfoot following all the recent rain.

The usual birds were seen, a total of 50 species in all, with a smattering of highlights including the male Teal and female Red-crested Pochard on the duck pond, 7 Greenshank on a very flooded Blaxton Meadow (more like Blaxton Lake due to the sluice gates being blocked), a pair of Red-breasted Merganser and 2 male and 4 female Goosander out on the river and 2 Common Sandpiper, a Kingfisher and a Grey Wagtail at Marsh Mills. 


Red-crested Pochard

Black-headed Gulls

Black-headed Gull - summer plumaged in January

So 2022 begins, Omicron COVID is causing disruption everywhere and a critical incident has been called all over the NHS including at my Trust, mostly due to the high number of front line staff off sick with COVID. Hopefully things will improve very soon. 

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