I want to clarify something right from the off - a narcoleptic does not make a good bird watcher!
I was really looking forward to this RSPB bird watch and while I was eager to do it yesterday the weather was atrocious so I decided today would be the day.
I chose to watch the bird table round by the polytunnel because there's usually more activity there due to all the surrounding hedges. The problem with this bird table though is that I cannot hang anything from it because the Rooks arrive in their droves if I do and scare all the small birds away so there's just the one bowl of food in an area that won't allow anything bigger than a Starling to get in.
On the menu today was bird seed, mealworms, pinhead oatmeal, crushed peanuts, mixed seed, mixed dried fruit and scraped suet block.
I gathered pen, paper, binoculars and camera and set myself up in the hen house which has a good view of the feeding station although because the feeding station is so tall - 7ftish - this was never really going to be a photo opportunity.
I had quite a few regulars show up such as a lone Robin. The Blue Tits and Great Tits were of the greatest number and you could tell them a mile off because they fly so funny.
I also saw 2 Blackbirds that were cleaning up the part of the feed station they could access - the edges, 1 Starling and 2 Blackbirds and a few house sparrows. Not really a fantastical number - I thought there would be much more and I was a tad dissappointed that the Wrens weren't showing up because I know there's plenty of them around - usually in the polytunnel. Just as I was coming to the end of the hour 1 Wren showed itself on a pile of wood below the feeding station and started feeding from the seed scattered below so that cheered me up a bit.
I made various notes during this 1 hour of sitting in the hen house in the freezing cold, in fact my page consists mainly of doodles and little snippets in barely legible hand writing as my fingers began to freeze and refuse to function.
"I'm cold" followed by "I'm bloody cold" topped off with "I'm frozen".
"Even the birds are too cold to eat" I wrote that while I sat there for at least 10 minutes of absolutely no bird in sight and not even a teeny tweet.
"Hens make some weird noises" - they all decided to stay around my feet and they made some really weird sounds as they sat there talking to one another.
"Stupid binoculars" - every time I tried to look through them they steamed up within 5 seconds.
I did enjoy the process, despite freezing my do dar off and I've decided I shall do it once every season at the same time each year to compare results.
I did get a show from this little lot though - Rooks, I hate them and they arrived by the hundreds thanks to the Rookery next door. The noise they make is awful .
Also a huge flock of these appeared - I'm assuming Blackbirds or Starlings or something? Certainly a lot smaller than the Rooks and way too agile for Rooks.
So in the field we had a flock of Rooks, a flock of whatever the smaller birds are a whole load of Graylag geese - at least 200. The geese arrive every year, stay for a couple of days and then head of to wherever they go next. Love seeing them, though they seem a tad earlier this year.
Had to have a little chuckle at the hens a couple of days ago. The pond had totally frozen over and I was trying to stop the dogs from walking on it when I noticed mama hen making her way over to me
All cocky as she was the only one brave enough (or stupid enough) to attempt it and then Huntly appeared and noticed her. Mama hens courage was short lived and she turned tail and ran while I had to make sure Huntly didn't attempt to take off after her on the frozen pond. TheShepherds had been on it but I wasn't risking Huntlys weight on it.