I'm incredibly fortunate, in as much as, my garden sits in the middle of my Newlands Farm "local patch". I've been watching the birdlife, although never seriously enough to bother submitting records, since we moved here in November 2000. My garden and patch lists are maintained purely for my own purposes, requiring neither approval or third party scrutiny for any species to make the grade. If, as has happened, I make a mistaken id, then I'm well capable of admitting my error and moving on without any embarrassment or shame attached. Strange as it might seem but, I'm probably enjoying bird watching more now than at any other stage during my time in Kent. How? Well I'm actually watching birds rather than chasing numbers, and that is as much an age thing as it is down to me reverting back to angling as my main hobby.
|We've still got plenty of House Sparrows visiting the feeding station|
Since the first "national lockdown" many of us have discovered the wealth of wildlife to be found right under our noses. For me, as a casual observer, watching an unfamiliar life form, of whatever genus, is about wonder not some dysfunctional obsession of needing to tick a box. Lockdown Mk 1 provided many such experiences. If my angling targets have to be put on hold, as would seem to be the case, then "patch birding" will be my fall back option. Time to dust down the long lens and start pointing the binoculars towards those distant blobs. If an unfamiliar invertebrate is encountered, then I will spend time looking without ever worrying about an id. Should I be able to give the creature a name, then so be it, but it's certainly not a paramount concern. Birds, moths, butterflies, mammals and dragonflies I'm relatively confident in my abilities. Out of this comfort zone and I'm clutching at straws. I have absolutely no gripes with others who wish to push the boundaries of their knowledge but, it doesn't work for me. It's a fly, beetle, bug or spider - I really don't care what it's called, just happy to have spent time looking at it.
|Short-eared Owl over the Newlands cauliflowers|
If this latest lockdown provides half as much wildlife entertainment as the first, then I'm in for a real treat. Obviously, with the passing of Bev's mum, I am able to wander a little more freely than during the previous occasions yet feel that garden based birding will provide the bulk of my sightings and blog material. The nocturnal antics of the hedgehogs and foxes, supplemented by the odd Brown Rat, will all add to the experience as this latest phase of the pandemic unfolds. Could get messy - let's see where it goes?
P.S. Just seen the latest Angling Trust up-date - no fishing allowed during this lockdown period!
And finally, I would like to wish fellow blogger, Penny Clarke, a speedy recovery from her Covid-19 infection. Chin up - we're all thinking of you!