Waxwings have been turning up in numbers in Leics. over the last few weeks, including some relatively big flocks in Loughborough, Hinckley, Coalville and over the last few days in Leicester. I had managed to avoid either bumping into any or specifically going to look for them, but you can only put it off for so long. Last night I planned to take the opportunity of a brief gap in the days proceedings this morning and to go and look for the large 200+ flock that had been knocking about near the Pork Pie island (no- none of us really know why it's locally known as that either, other than the round shape of the old library that overlooks the roundabout).
When this morning actually arrived, I wasn't sure whether to bother. It was the gloomiest grey morning imagineable. To call the light appalling would suggest that there was some. I set off anyway and tried to avoid other cars whilst I grilled every tree top near the island. Eventually, I spied a group of motley fat looking birds at the top of a bare tree. I pulled over further down the road, got the bins out and confirmed the suspicions - c80 Waxwings high up doing nothing. I put the bins back in the car, grabbed the camera to get a pathetic record shot and as I turned back the whole lot fecked right off. Bloody typical - not even the chance of a pants photo. A quick drive around was fruitless - as were most of the trees in the area. Sadly, the rest of the morning and early afternoon was already booked up with family stuff so no chance to have another look - although the light has not dramatically improved all day.
I briefly considered putting the garden trap out tonight - but decided it was highly likely to be a complete waste of time. Anything likely to be flying around here tonight is as likely to come to lit windows as anything else.
And so to tomorrow, and a New Year. One thing I haven't really bothered with for a very long while indeed is actively chasing a bird yearlist. Seems to me that to keep a yearlist with any sustained interest you need two things - a realistic challenge and a bit of friendly rivalry or a target to hit. I have no residual aspirations to tear around the country twitching regularly, let alone chasing British List yearticks. Yearlisting at a County level would require numerous visits to Rutland Water and Eyebrook to have any hope of reaching a good total - which immediately renders it unrealistic for me. I have an area that I consider as my local patch (Soar Valley South) but the range of potential species is limited to say the least - no sustained interest. John Drunkbirder Hague kept a Soar Valley (North) list for 2010 and muted the possibility of keeping a City Boundary list for 2011. This seems a reasonable challenge to me, giving the incentive to visit a few long-ignored or forgotten sites along the way. It will not be manic or all-encompassing. I'll be out sometime tomorrow to put a score on the Bubo door - look out for the updates through the year.
Have good night whatever you're doing - and here's to doing it all again but bigger and better in 2011.