Friday, January 1, 2021

It seems a long time since I committed to producing a Blog on a regular basis (too long!). In the meantime, much has happened to affect all of us and the outcomes are most certainly not a cause for celebration ! So here we now are at the onset of a New Year with a large measure of uncertainty hanging over us. To me, the only way forward is to work within the official parameters made available and to make the best of things. Whilst I've remained at home today, setting up various things, I'm still looking forward to what the next twelve months will bring and to the inevitable surprises. Way back in the autumn of 2018, whilst in Cornwall, I had a bad fall down a steep, cliff footpath , took a battering, injured my left knee, which then took some time to mend. By 2020 I was recovered, starting off the year in Scotland, seeing a few nice things, including White-winged Scoter, and was ready to engage with a year of promise. Later, a week in Norfolk was something of a washout and, shortly after that, the problem with the Covid 19 virus emerged and lockdown restrictions followed on soon afterwards. Short periods at Spurn in July, August and October, when restrictions eased, revived the spirits and intent and, now, here I am again looking forward to future birding, but with the whole UK enduring various levels of restriction. It seems likely that this situation is going to apply in some form or another for a while yet and, therefore, the challenge is to construct activities within the regulations and get on with it ! For my part I've abandoned all plans to go abroad until at least well into 2022. I've decided to concentrate primarily on local birding, travel within the County as regulations allow and adhering to all the guidance and, then,more widely as restrictions are lifted. Easy, unequivocal and stripped bare of " what if's" and "if onlys". Given my home area is still in Tier 3 I feel very lucky having the opportunity to travel around in what is a countryside area where it's not difficult to avoid people entirely ! I've decided on a personal recording area of two 10 km squares ( OS areas SE 10 and 20 ). Large....yes, ambitious....yes but an area overall with a large variety of opportunity and challenge on the eastern flanks of the Pennines up onto the open moorlands themselves. Reservoirs, woodlands, moorlands, swathes of agricultural land combine to provide a rich variety of habitat. Whilst the current situation gives rise to serious concerns, there is room for hope once the vaccination programme really gets underway. In the meantime I think everyone should do their level best to accept the disciplines of the guidance and help to minimize the pressures on the NHS to whose staff our heartfelt wishes should be offered. Take care, stay safe and have an enjoyable year.