Today - possibly because of the heavy frost that has persisted all day - the trees have been full of Redwings: hundreds of them! They are extremely territorial about 'their' sprig of cotoneaster berries and quickly drive off any interlopers! Every now and then, however, the resident Blackbirds come along to chase away their northern relations!
Thursday, 31 December 2020
The ISS passed close to the very bright star Arcturus on its first pass: notice a second, fainter spacecraft on an almost parallel orbit to the south (right!) Later, Venus rose just before dawn. The just-waning Moon made the whole sky very bright!
Wednesday, 30 December 2020
Here are the dates and times of passes by the ISS in January: early mornings, still, but with Tier 4 everywhere, you can go back to bed after you've watched them!
Remember, the lower the number, the brighter. (So the brightest pass is the mag. -3.5 on the 31st of December)
Whenever I carry out a weekly routine water change (as I did today) the drop in temperature seems to irritate other unintended residents: Serpent Stars. I don't think these are harmful, so won't remove them unless they grow really large or too abundant: fascinating creatures to watch!
Tuesday, 29 December 2020
Our tall tree Cotoneaster has been constantly visited by Blackbirds, Redwings and even Jays: fingers crossed for a Waxwing before the berries disappear!
Monday, 28 December 2020
An early 'exercise walk' at Buckenham was more atmospheric / therapeutic than productive: the reserve looked gorgeous in the early morning mist, with Cantley and its plume of water vapour dominating the eastern skyline. The fields on the other side of the swollen River Yare were flooded, with lots of gulls and wildfowl feeding happily...
A walk around to the wind pump produced typically distant views of five or six Taiga Bean Geese, while three Peregrines and a Buzzard kept the Lapwing flocks nervously aerial! Other birds included a few Pinkfeet and Whitefronts, lots of Teal and a few Wigeon.
It has, as they say, been a funny old year: two periods of 'lockdown' limited most birders to short journeys on their local patches. Nevertheless, I managed to see - and photograph - 220 species with just a couple of legal trips out of Norfolk.Despite the restrictions on travel, it was a year during which I added three new birds to my UK list (four, if you include Lammergeier!) saw two species of Phalarope, five species of Wagtail, and five species of Grebe.
It was a good year on my walking local patch, with Kingfisher, Wheatear and Glossy Ibis among the additions to my 'lockdown list' list of 176 species!
Here are some of the more special birds of 2020: let's hope we all can legally enjoy more freedom in 2021...