Visited our local nature reserve in the hope of seeing some exciting birds. A new hide had recently been opened overlooking some scrapes. This hide is several hundred meters from the existing two hides. The walk is along the edge of the field on a raised bank. The final part is fenced off to hide the birders from the birds. The new hide is open at the back, and once you open the viewing windows the cold wind starts to drive through. Not a conducive place to sit in the winter. Maybe the summer will be better, but wait it will be closed because those little feathered creatures will be raising their broods! Anyway, there was not much to be seen, maybe a blue tit in the hedgerow.
Back now to the old hides, where there are some feeders. Here at least were some garden birds, a robin, coal tit, blue tit and a reed bunting. Out on the island in the pond, a single wagtail appeared. Not a good day birding.
Today was a lovely bright and not overly cold day, so off we set to RSPB Otmoor to check out the Starlings. Would we recognise our local Starlings as they came in to roost in the reed bed! We arrived at around 2.45, the car park was already full, bar one space for us. We headed out slowly looking for birds. To be honest, there were not many around, the scrapes were empty. The walk to the reed bed is around 1500-2000 meters. There are several viewing points, we chose one a little bit further on, where there should be a few fewer people.
Shortly after sunset the Starlings started to arrive and did their murmuration bit. Interesting how small groups of birds had to join in with the big group before going in to roost. Once roosted there were large waves of starlings flying over the tops of the reeds as they moved around to other locations.
As we were leaving we saw a green flash in the sky, fairly low down and travelling North. The trail was very short, and it seemed to travel slower than a meteor, and faster than a sattelite. The short trail was also quite wide. It was visible for a couple of seconds. No idea what it was.
Christmas was at home with Selina, Phil and Julian. Usual fare of turkey, roast potatoes, parsnips & carrots, plus a stalk & a half of sprouts, bread & cranberry sauces, stuffing balls and rather a lot of pigs in blankets. Various Christmas puddings and lakes of wine, including a dessert one we’d brought with us from New Zealand. Not a white Christmas, but a warm one.