Wednesday 11 February 2009


What can you say about February, other than that it’s not March? We’re in the grip of a recession which every news bulletin gleefully tells us ‘may be worse than previously thought’, and also the worst winter weather (or ‘snow event’ if you have the intellect of an owl pellet and need perfectly good English translated into media twat-speak) for 18 years. Which is what – 1991? I don’t remember that winter being particularly cold, but then we were used to it being a bit chilly in the winter in those days. That’s why thermal underwear and thick jumpers were invented.

Early 1985 was also cold, with snow on the ground for weeks, but unlike in this minor cold snap (so far, anyway) some interesting birds turned up in Leicestershire. On one day in January it was possible to see all three common divers and all five grebes at Rutland Water, along with Long-tailed Duck, two Velvet Scoters and half a dozen Red-breasted Mergansers. Then in mid-February the juvenile Night Heron, which had been suppressed in the Burley Fishponds area since December 84, was frozen out of hiding and appeared at Whitwell Creek for all to see before dying the following day. There hasn’t been one in the county since. On my fucking list, as they say.

This winter though there has been nothing remotely like that – just a handful of Scaup at the dam, an elusive Bittern around the lagoons and three Black-necked Grebes off Barnsdale, and the two Great Northern Divers that were around earlier in the year seem to have buggered off with the onset of the cold!

But never mind, because I’ve got my new camera and lens to play with, and I’m quite happy taking photos of common stuff. Yes, I know I said in a comment on the last post that I wasn’t going to post any more photos, but I was lying.

A Weasel Coot - surely a much better name than 'redhead Smew'!

A Tailmouse or Bum Barrel

Some sort of Sea Mew I think - probably blown inland by bad weather