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As seen in the woods

Serious birdwatchers would appear to have a New Year’s Day ritual of sorts whereby they go out as soon as it’s light and see how many birds they can see on the first day of the year. I am a bit more casual than them, and until today my birding activities of 2013 have been limited to reading the latest edition of Birds magazine and making sure that there was plenty of food out for the birds in the cold weather. The pork rind proved to be very popular with a couple of passing magpies and a female blackbird.

It wasn’t until late morning today that I ventured out into the snow and walked down to Cherry Tree Wood for my first hour or so of semi-serious birding in 2013. I took a camera and so was able to record some of my sightings.

I always seem to see a few carrion crows when I go birdwatching but I don’t usually pay them much attention; like pigeons, they’re just there. But perhaps they’re more worthy of my attention – after all, they are clever and adaptable birds which can survive in almost any habitat. Maybe we just take them for granted – just like the proliferation of house sparrows used to be taken for granted.

But I have always preferred looking for smaller birds – you have to look harder but it’s definitely worth the effort. There were long-tailed tits high in the trees, and British birds don’t get much smaller than a wren that flew across my path. A robin perched himself on a branch long enough for me to get a decent photo. Further into the wood, I saw a great tit and a blue tit, both of which (like the wren) were too quick for my camera. A male blackbird doing a spot of foraging was not.

Then came the interesting part. Last time I went birdwatching in Cherry Tree Wood, back in December, I was lucky enough to see a goldcrest, a bird I also managed to spot in the City back in September. This time, I got to see not one but two of these wonderful little birds, looking for something to eat on the trunk of a large tree. A good start to my birdwatching year, I think!

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