Enjoying the garden

Well this wasn’t what any of us were expecting at the start of the year. In January I’d set off with all good intentions of getting my retirement blog going on a regular basis - started off pretty well, leisurely dropping in on places and birds when I wanted, constantly disappointed about the lack of birds at Rishton Reservoir (apart from the Grebes of course) and getting up to date with all those things I was putting off (moth dissection course in Liverpool for example).
Caspian Gull
There was a trip to Florida in March to look forward to and in the meantime a couple of local trips to Redcar Tarn at Keighley that were very rewarding and enjoyable seeing close up bona-fida Caspian Gulls in a relatively pleasant setting and couple that with a flock of Waxwings that have bee very scarce this winter. A return trip to Musselburgh to dip the White-winged Scoter once again saw me spending many enjoyable hours scanning the Firth of Forth’s sea duck. The long-staying Black-throated Thrush drew me across to Grimsby and high tides at Marshside brought great views of Hen Harrier, Merlin and a host of waders and wildfowl.
Black-throated Thrush
Then as the news of the spread of Covid-19 became ever more fraught, I knew that the holiday was, for the second consecutive year, going to have to be postponed and all plans put on hold.
So we’re fortunate to have a lovely garden with views - potential that I’m so glad Bernie spotted 30+ years ago - and time to spend in it. Incessant wind and rain during February didn’t help much and there was a distinct lack of finches this winter. This has extended into spring and on the few non-windy days when I’ve been able to get a net up, hardly anything has been coming down.
Moth nights have also been in short supply but an early effort in January got me a much-wanted Spring Usher and more recently, the long-awaited Oak Beauty.
Spring Usher
Oak Beauty
So birding from the garden it will be for the foreseeable as I sit here watching the multitude of House Sparrows demolish the fat balls and Starlings gather nest material. Very few migrants here yet - just Chiffchaff really. A few distant Sand Martins and a single brief Blackcap is not helping the mood but the weather is improving so the bees and hoverflies should add variety to garden wildlife observations!