Saturday, 10 January 2009

Must do better......

Today is a day for sitting in the house and looking out of the window. This was the conservatory at 8am today, minus 1 inside, -5 outside, and the windows were frosted up. Serves me right for closing it up this week to save heating it. But at least I managed to get some wildlife in the shot (blackbird, seen through door).

As the day progressed the usual suspects came into the garden, more Blackbirds, Robin, House Sparrows and Chaffinches a plenty, a Blackcap and half an hour ago 7 Long Tail Tit, which are now becoming regular visitors in this cold spell. I'll miss this weather when the wet and windy forecast for later in the weekend arrives.

So after breakfast, did a tally of the bird species seen in 2008. Which took a lot longer than planned as I'm absolutely rubbish at keeping lists, so had to re-count a few times. But the total for 2008 is 163 UK species sightings. Not very good really considering I'm out and about a lot, but in the summer I do tend to stop birdwatching completely between June and October.

I know a lot of people like year lists to look back upon, but I don't think I'll keep a year list anymore, sort of lost interest in it mid year, seemed bit too much like hard work, making notes in the field then having to come home and write it all up properly from the field notes. This year too I want to look at other wildlife, and go back to my first love Mustelids, as I didn't see an Otter all year.

If any of you have any good Mustelid (Otter, Badger, Stoat, Weasel etc) hot spots in the South West, I'd like to know. And I've never ever seen a Pine Marten..... so this is my Number 1 must see animal this year, so expect to see a tubby bearded bloke puffing up a hill in Scotland soon with a jar of fruit conserve, peanut butter and pheromone spray, and no I don't mean Bill Oddie.


  1. LOL... oh should I tell/warn the pine martens you are coming... or keep it a surprise?

    They love peanuts up my way and aren't interested at all in the jam 'pieces'. Hope you get to see them... they are quite special :-D

  2. Just come back from a three hour walk - so I'm feeling very virtuous!

    I totally agree with you regarding yearly bird lists. I'm rubbish at lists as well. Now "records", that's a different thing entirely. I'm addicted to keeping environmental records of where and when I've seen something (and then sending it at the end of the year to the Dorset Environmental Records Office). I guess that's the main focus of my website www.naturewatched.org. I got hooked on collecting environmental records after I read the 50 year old nature diary of an amateur naturalist who used to live 3 doors away. It was totally fascinating.

    I'm with you on Mustelids. I'd love to see any on your list this year. I've staked out several spots on the Stour nearby waiting for otters, but no luck yet (although I know they are there I've seen the "signs"). Badgers everywhere round here (had a report of 8 in a garden up the road!) but I find my local ones very jumpy as they are quite "urban" and wary as hell. If you find Stoat/Weasel hotspots can I come too??? Jane

  3. Minus five, up here also as i scraped the car at five o clock this morning. Not the most pleasant expierence.

    The martins are on my must see list, this year. I'm waiting on the pictures.

  4. We have pine martens here, in the national park which is no distance from me. Unfortunately they are on the endangered list, not many left apparently. Looks like you're in a bit of a deep freeze over there.

  5. If you want to see a Pine Marten go and stay in one of the log cabins at Kilfinnan on the shore of Loch Lochy. We were only there for less than an hour when we saw one pinching some food we'd left out on the table! After that we saw them every evening. Very shy but we kept well hidden! It's very beautiful there too.

  6. Thanks Shirl for the vote of confidence - :-)

    Hi Jane, I agree about record keeping after all the father of record keeping Robert Marsham turned it inco the science of Phenology.

    ST, Oldcrow and Goosey, watch this space.