1 January 2012

First post of 2012

Happy New Year, 2012 has offically started.

Despite the cold wind it has been a bright sunny day, not that it will last for long according to the forecast.

First task of the year was to enter the final few weeks of garden bird observations for 2011 into the online reporting system of the BTO's Garden Bird Watch survey. Then find a new notebook for 2012 as by pure coincidence I managed to finish 2011 on the last page of the previous one. Strangely my pocket notebook for my birding activities also finished on the last page on my last outing for 2011. How spooky is that?

I have decided that instead of making New Year resolutions this year, as they are never kept, I'm going to set myself some Aims instead.

The first Aim is to get my leg back to normal service. After breaking it back in August the swelling just doesn't want to go away in a hurry. I'm hoping that by going out and doing more birding and ringing I might be able to get the old muscles pumping again and get rid of the fluid build up causing the swelling.

To that end I went out for a walk to my local loch, the Loch of Ayre, and out round the headland of Skaildaquoy Point. Not much out on the sea, a few female Eiders, a couple of Great Black-backed Gulls, a pair of Mallard and a couple of Cormorants. Along the beach there were a small flock of Turnstones, a couple of Redshank and a solitary Rock Pipit. Flying overhead were a Common Gull and a Raven. There seemed to be a distinct lack of gulls about today and I didn't see any Mergansers either.

On the loch were a pair of Mute Swans with a youngster, five Goldeneye, six Tufted Duck and two male Long Tailed Ducks which took flight and headed out to sea. Around the loch edge, sheltering from the wind, were a couple of Grey Herons, twenty Mallards, 100+ Wigeon, 80+ Lapwings and 40+ Oystercatchers. In a field on the Northern edge of the loch was a mixed flock of 80+ Starlings, 50+ Curlew and a dozen Oystercatchers.

The highlight of the afternoon was watching a female Hen Harrier hunting along the Northern edge of the loch.

The second Aim is to update this blog on a more regular basis and tinker around with the layout/format. All feedback greatly received. At least I'm starting with good intent by posting this entry.

The third Aim is to get my C permit and starting ringing on my own. I had some plans in place last year to help me achieve this aim but the busted leg stopped any hope of that. So a concerted effort this year to those plans back on track so watch this blog for progress.

As I take a break from entering all my birding efforts from last year into the spreadsheet for submission to the county recorder for inclusion in the 2011 Orkney Bird Report my final Aim for the year is not to leave this task until the end of the year. Instead the aim will be to submit my input every quarter, so if you don't spot me commenting on this in early April then give me a prompt.

On which note I shall close this blog entry and get back to the spreadsheet.

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