21st December. In The Bleak Mid Winter
Well not so bleak really, though if all the Christmas Fairy has brought you so far is a P45 then things will be looking bleak. I suspect that who ever wrote this carol had more than a passing interest in birding as mid winter birding is very bleak indeed. I spent 3 hours at RV yesterday counting the wildfowl and given the mild conditions it felt like late march. Wigeon numbers were well down and Coots were struggling to get up to 200 compared with c.500 in previous years. Just a thought but has anyone ever seen a Coot (or a Moorhen) undertake flight of more than a couple of hundred yards? Do they undertake some bizarre overland migration? Have they discovered teleporting or are they smuggled across the Continent in huge trucks. Search the Internet for flight images of Coots, there's nothing showing a Coot more than a couple of feet above water. My conclusion is that they have the flying prowess of a chicken and are smuggled in overnight and dumped on large expanses of open water. A paper on this subject will appear in Birding World shortly - probably! The short birdless winter days are clearly affecting my sanity only eleven more weeks until the migrants start returning.