Saturday, 22 January 2011


A question drifted across my conciousness as lunchtime approached. I've been thinking of the patch list for sometime this morning, wondering if I could add anything from the office window. Unlikely, but it did pose the question:

How many species could I see in the time it takes me to cook and eat beans on toast in our mess room?

Usually I stuff my face and get back to work but I decide in view of the challenge I have just set myself (it is no long a question, it's been upgraded to a challenge) I'm going to take my full hour.

From the office we can see a bit of a blackthorn thicket that has a rickety old bird table in front of it. This has been topped up with seed daily since the Bramblings turned up.

So lunchtime starts with Greenfinch and Chaffinch on the table. Beans are on the hob and the toast is browning nicely. All going swimmingly so far.

Brambling hops along the floor and whips up to the table. It's a little timid and is forced off by the grumpy Greenfinch. Still it's on the list, thats a good one!

The usual Tits are now present, nice to see some Coals, the cold snap hit them hard here.
Beans are bubbling away, I can't burn these for one for a list!

Magpie swoops in and scatters everything. Still it's added to the list. The angry Fieldfare that's been hanging around for a while puts in an appearance, a bonus for the list.
Robin is here too, no sign of our Wren though. Male Bullfinch looks ace even in the poor grey light that pervades today.

Plate on the knee I scooch up to the window and continue the watch while I eat. Moorhen is a good one to add. One struts past, flicking its tail at nothing in particular. Soon a Jay lands, rumages and leaves. Squirrels spook the Brambling.

Little party of Long Tails come zitting along, 6 in all. Beans are finished now, quick rinse of plate and pan.

I decide to sit on the bench outside the office for the final few minutes of lunch.

This turns out to be a good move as I add some good birds to the list. Lapwing fly over from the estuary to feed on the farmland behing us. A Curlew follows a few minutes later. Black-headed Gull is next followed by Starling and Carrion Crow. The male Great Spotted Woodpecker that "pinks" from the poplar in the corner puts in an appearance and is added to the growing list. I'm rather enjoying this!

Time is running out though and I want to get a couple more before I'm cooped up in the office again.

Star of the show for lunchtime today was a Buzzard that soared over for a couple of circuits before heading inland. Still no sign of our Wren.

The elusive Wren!

The last to make it on to the list is a striking male Pheasant that walks nervously around the bird table.

I've just enough time to add up the list before returning to work. Here it is in full:

Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Bullfinch, Robin, Brambling, Long-tailed Tit, Dunnock, Blackbird, Fieldfare, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Collared Dove, Wood Pigeon, Jay, Starling, House Sparrow, Lapwing, Curlew Buzzard, Pheasant and Herring Gull. 25 in all, but the Wren remained elusive!

I feel a lunch list is going to be started!

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