I love dedicated birding days, but I hate incidental birding. From the start the day was due to fall in the latter category given the weather conditions as , however hard you tried , it was going to be impossible to sustain anything for very long and most things were going to be picked up from the car!!
This was the view down near my seawatching spot! High winds backing a boiling sea, a pregnant sky threatening worse to come, so abandon that idea!
On up the Rinns on the western side of Loch Indaal to find the latter was largely obscured by incoming banks of rain, that eventually turned to sleet and even hailstones. Tantalising interludes of occasional sunny periods promised better things, but didn't deliver, so , all in all, the day was a disaster and little was seen. A few Wigeon, Light-bellied Brent Geese, Starling, Curlew and Common Gull amounted to "new" species for the year, none of which were seen under enjoyable circumstances. A saturated pasture showed 240 Common Gulls present , most of which were indulging in the paddling behaviour aimed at bringing prey to the surface. Commencing before Christmas the next days and weeks will see increasing numbers of gull species arriving back, the last of which will be LBBG in late February and into March.
Diversion of the day! I'm a great fan of Jeff Randall Live ( Sky TV ) and his financial analysis of what's happening around us, plus his "number for the day" sign off line. This is going to be my personal "take" on that approach although applied to a much wider canvas. Usually there'll be a 24 hour delay gap for obvious reasons.
For yesterday there are four items! Having got back for the last 15 minutes of the game, the winning goal in the Sunderland versus Man City match scored in the last minute by the former was an unexpected pleasure. Similarly the now annual New Years Day concert by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra of music by the Strauss family was tremendous, particularly the conductor playing on two anvils whilst still presiding over things! I was disappointed by the Vienna Boys Choir and all it did was make me acutely aware of the high quality and professionalism of our own Kings College Choir, Cambridge, although admittedly the latter contains some older members.
Finally the documentary programmes on the Great Barrier Reef and the Orkney Stone Age Temple Special. The latter presented details on the newly discovered 5000 year old Neolithic archaeology at Ness of Brodgar on Orkney built 500 years before Stonehenge, which it has been shown to have connections with. . The suggestion that social culture in Britain had spread not northwards, as previously postulated, but southwards from this obviously well developed community was argued convincingly. Strangest aspect of all was that the Orkney community then "closed itself down " and nothing further of it appears to exist. Inspiring stuff!
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