Well, any lingering thoughts that I had about the reserve starting the Spring far too dry are now out of the window after today's rain. During the course of the morning I have watched the grazing marshes across the road from my bungalow change from just grass to areas of shallow water. I imagine that the reserve, if I could be arsed to go down there and wallow in mud, would look pretty much the same. It's a shame, because when I was down there late yesterday afternoon, taking part in the monthly Harrier roost count, it looked great, just the right amount of winter water but after a windy and sunny afternoon, drying out on the surface nicely for walking on.
The Harrier count, on the reserve at least, provided a really good count of roosting Hen Harriers on the saltings near to Shellness Hamlet - 2 males and 3 ring-tails - best for a few years.
As I've been writing this a small party of Long-tailed Tits have just passed through the garden. There were, I should add, none of the charming white-headed northern cousins that seem to be attracting the twitcher brigade down to the South Coast. At least they are clearly identifiable as "different", even by the more ordinary of us birdwatchers, not so the Slaty-backed Gull identified across the Thames late last week. Looking at the photos of this bird I have to say that I for one wouldn't have given it a second glance, it just didn't stand out as anything different and I bet that 98% of those that twitched it at the weekend, if first finding it alone themselves would of thought any different.
On this subject, I was amused on reading a posting on the KOS Forum the other night, to see that a new list had been published of ornithological "taxonomic splits," which apparently gave the author the opportunity for "30+ new ticks." Is that what it has come to in the twitching world, new birds are invented because of slight differences in feather or song so that they can be added to stagnating life lists - so sad. My friend breeds British Birds in his aviary and a common hybrid is Goldfinch x Greenfinch, imagine,should he release some of these and the orgasmic delight if a twitcher saw them first - another finch "taxonomic split" - whoopee do!
I was really chuffed to see the response to my recent blog about the Hunting fraternity, a serious point of view from me and some equally serious and sensible comments in reply. For me this is what these blogs are about, if you can be bothered to start one up, then at least be bothered to vary the subject matter and keep them interesting. There's a lot to discuss and be debated out there - so much more lively and interesting than just the same daily count of birds added to year lists.