Thursday, 1 January 2015

The old and the new

With the new year came again the wind and cloud and, after days of Christmas clarity, the savage Norfolk sky. Loud in it were the many pinkfeet over marshes west of home. Loud too twite in the morning marsh at Thornham, picking through the silky seeds of asters. Here a pot-bellied pipit - rock - of one smudgy brown with the creek's mud.

At Titchwell, a tiercel peregrine forced through the flapping flocks of lapwings, while on the deeply flooded scrape below were wigeon, teal and gadwall in their hundreds. A slender pair of pintail bowed and bustled by the bank, and buoyant coot dived, with a jump, into the winter-bitter water.

Over the marsh at Burnham Overy a hen harrier - a powdered male - and then a roughleg, distant and difficult, with buzzards and marsh harriers perched on posts and swaying though the reed. A kite, on cue, harried by these harriers, a kestrel, four calling partridges. Proper partridges too.

To the east, at Holkham, with greylag geese and shoveler all about, a great egret shone in the dying of the year's first day. All these things new to 2015, and many more, were shared with my oldest birding friends: with DTH, with Gavin, and with Jamie.

This will be for me a year of new things and old. Of many places to which I've travelled many times, and some new. Of many animals I've often seen before, and some new too. Of many adventures, the first of which will begin very soon.

I hope you will join me in them.

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