|Twitching the American Coot in Scotland did not fall within the definition of doing 'anything I liked' last weekend. So here's a Eurasian Coot in Clumber Park, Notts, instead - a Honey Buzzard hotspot in summer.
|Marsh Tit, Sherwood Forest
|Coal Tit, Sherwood Forest
|Blue Tits, Sherwood Forest
Second, some well-intentioned but rather joyless experts have created the idea of 'Dry January'. It's hard enough to get people to go drinking at this time of year with everyone skint after Christmas without this: no consideration for those of us with birthdays in the New Year! And if you go to the Alcohol Concern website, there's a tiny disclaimer at the bottom: 'Please note that this is not a medical detox programme and should not be attempted by people with an alcohol dependency problem'. So just killing responsible levels of joy then?
|Goosander, Rufford - a good site for Hawfinch and Lesserspot
|Drake Goosanders, Rufford Mill
|Drake Pochard, Rufford
|Drake Tufted Duck, Rufford
|This male had a particularly chunky bill, and repeated the curse words of passing birders, both good features for Parrot
To me, having listened to and read about as much about Crossbills as my brain could handle, they sounded good for Parrots and they looked good for Parrots. While there was undoubtedly some variation in bill size/shape within the flock, none of the bills looked small enough to be 'typical' Common, and the flight calls were definitely purer and deeper than the 'glip' of Common. After further research, however, I have settled on the most scientifically fool-proof method of deciding whether or not they can be ticked: eenie, meenie, miney, moe...
|Deep-billed and bull-headed, like the books say, and looking very Parrot-like at this angle, though perhaps the lower mandible not bulging as much as some.