I've finished my first month of completing the patchwork challenge and I'm not sure whether it was a good one or not! In some respects I've done very well, recording common gull and woodcock for the first time ever on the patch. Whooper swan too is a good bird to strike off early in the year, as is green sandpiper, by no means a common bird locally.
I'm surprised to have reached the end of January and not struck off nuthatch, little owl and either of the partridge species, all of which I encounter fairly regularly. I was also hoping for some winter visitors too, like siskin and brambling, but these too have eluded me. So, when the count was in, I had 65 species for 67 points.
However, I'm already learning that 'listing' like this is a dangerous pursuit. I spent this weekend covering a lot of ground desperate to get my January count up a few more points and in doing so nearly forgot why I like being outside... just to enjoy the diversity of animals and plants and observe their charming behaviour.
I came across a number of treecreeper on Sunday (birds I find let you closer than most) and a wonderful marsh tit at a site I used to put food out for them. I'm sure it recognised me, and as I stood watching her, talking to her, she came within 4ft of me and I became completely enchanted with the experience. So much so, I completely forgot that I had my camera slung over my shoulder. She disarmed me and I remembered; "that's why we brave the cold and blustery weather, for those moments that nature accepts us and everything else is forgotten".