Saturday 24 November 2012

Back in business

I've been ill over the last fortnight with chicken pox and been almost completely out of action, instead spending my days sleeping till 2pm then watching TV until 2am, reading a couple of books then going back to sleep. This was only broken by a flying visit to Samphire Hoe Country Park on Monday which simply had to be done because for some reason Desert Warbler has always been near the top of my wish list (it was a dip).

With the physical discomfort over and the spots fading I decided on Friday to break into my normal routine and headed to Banstead Downs Golf Course in the afternoon. This produced two Firecrests, which I was delighted to see as they're one of my favourite birds and their return is reassuring considering the extent of habitat destruction that the golf course has persisted on doing over the last year or two. I initially found wintering Firecrests here in late 2008 and numbers have reached 3-4 before.

Today I went to the patch for the first time in ages. I'd been sorely missing it so was desperate to give it a good go, despite knowing the abysmal forecast. The weather was indeed crap and birding in the conditions was a challenge, but a fly-over Common Snipe made it very worthwhile (only the 2nd record for me/the recording area this year, and the first was a heard-only nighttime record). It was good to reacquaint with the three local birders that were out today and I eagerly await the apparently more comfortable conditions tomorrow.

A miserable day, producing a Common Snipe