|Grey Wagtail from the garden|
The last five days have to be some of the most surreal of my life and I'm sure many people reading this latest blog post can appreciate those feelings! Everything felt marginally normal last Sunday, social distancing was in place and yet I still felt like Coronavirus was something in the distance, sure I was worried about the vulnerable people in my family but life seemed normal looking back at it. I was still working, I was still birding, me and Libbie were still going out for walks and I was excited about Spring Migration and the ringing season was starting at Nanjizal.
|Studying migrant birds on the coast such as this Nightjar at Nanjizal must wait for now.|
Then things started to change, things started to get real and surreal at the same time. Work called to say they were closing the shop, Kester rang to say Nanjizal wouldn't be opening up for at least three weeks and I went to bed on Sunday feeling like something bigger was around the corner after watching the antics on the news. Yet Monday still felt fairly normal for me , just like any other day off work at this time of year I was up early and alone on the coast searching for migrant birds. I got home saw my girlfriend after she finished work and spent the evening at home with my family and then we saw the announcement that really did make this pandemic real for me, lockdown.
|The farm next door to us has a healthy population of Yellowhammer's which we've been feeding over the winter. It's great to take the time to watch them as I usually just dump the seed and drive to work!|
Now I must say that I am a very lucky man throughout all of this so far, I have a wonderful fiancé and a close family who are all Coronavirus free to which I feel very grateful. I live in the countryside and we have a lovely garden but yet somehow the lockdown affected me more than I was expecting.
|Dippers are really fantastic!|
|Watching them feeding under the bridge is a privilege|
|They are unique in their ability amongst passerines as they are able to dive and swim underwater|
It was a feeling of being trapped, not being able to go wherever I wanted to go (which would be totally irresponsible) and the feeling that I would miss spring, my birding spring which always means so much to me as I watch migration on the Cornish coast unfolding at Trevose Head and Nanjizal. Us birders are a strange breed and I have no qualms in saying that I'm totally addicted to birding and that without it part of me isn't right, so what could I do?
|Early mornings with the camera saw us see this delightful Bank Vole|
|And these very skittish Roe Deer|
I'm a naturally positive half glass full person so I embraced the lockdown and looked at the positives! Extra quality time with my fiancé, time to catch up on plenty of things at home and plenty of time for birding, why couldn't spring come to me at home? After all birds are everywhere and anything can turn up anywhere.
|I've never looked up in the sky so much in my life these last few days! Buzzard's have been displaying all week over my house, whilst Kestrel's, 2 more distant Red Kite and the local Sparrowhawk pair have also been enjoying the fine weather|
|Ah proper migrants! Lesser Black Backed Gull's seem to moving around the area in good numbers at the moment as they slowly head north. My biggest count was 35 over the house on 28th March|
So me and Libbie have walked once a day for our daily exercise to a different part of the Parish and nature has kept us company the whole time. From seeing Dippers on the local river, to watching majestic Red Kite's on their annual spring time pilgrimage to Cornwall. Whilst in the garden we enjoy a closer and calmer look at the feeders which I tend to ignore and the tonic of watching birds going about their daily business and enjoying each species quirks really lifts my mood. I feel so much better for knowing that the natural world is carrying on unabated in these difficult times and this escapism reduces my anxieties and worries for my parents and family.
|If Blackbird and Chaffinch were rarities imagine how many people would flock to see them!|
For the birder in me I have hatched a plan to find something half decent, a Night Heron at the local pond, a Hoopoe in the horse paddock next door, a White Stork drifting overhead. These far fetched plans in my head keep my hunters instinct going (which I think all birders have to a degree!) and get me up early each morning for my obviously failed searches. But a Common Snipe in the horse paddock, 2 Red Kite's overhead and 2 early Swallow's by the river make me think that maybe I'm in with a chance during lockdown.
|The sound of Blackcap and Chiffchaff singing in early spring is very uplifting and just shows that migration is everywhere! I don't think I've ever been so excited to see a Swallow today|
|I'm sure some birders will recognise my sidekick!|
|Butterflies have been out in the early spring sunshine. We have seen Holly Blue x2, Green-veined White x1, Small Tortoiseshell x10 and Peacock (picture above) x10|