Shopping List

In the quieter, darker winter days, birders like to dream about what they might one day find on the patch. We imagine wonderfully rare finds that have twitchers flocking to the site. We wonder why we haven’t yet seen some of the commoner species, and why certain migrants seem to elude us despite our best efforts to scan them out.
It is innate, born of listing. The kind of thing that keeps us going when we despair of how dull and same-y things can become.

I am lucky. I have lots to love in the Wood and enjoy it throughout the year, finding myself and learning nature writing whatever the weather and situation. But I can’t overlook the fact that I have been a birder for 40 years and was a twitcher for nearly half of those. Some habits never die.

A man’s got to have a dream

L = Likely         P = Possibly        F = Fantasy

Mute Swan                                    P               Flying over the farmland almost any time

Canada Goose                               P               Flying over wood or farmland almost any time

Cattle Egret                                   F                Increasing chance. Farmland among cattle

Little Egret                                    P               Seems like the sort of thing that might fly over

White Stork                                  F                Recorded locally, so why not overhead here?

Honey Buzzard                            F                Overhead on autumn migration

Goshawk                                       L                Breeds locally. Should turn up soon enough

Osprey                                           P               Overhead on autumn migration

Moorhen                                       P               I figure they must be on the farmland some place

Crane                                             F                Overhead locally, so why not here?

Lapwing                                        L                Overhead during a cold snap?

Great Black-backed Gukk          P               Wouldn’t surprise me at all, but gulls are rare

Cuckoo                                           P               Spring migration. On the clearfell

Barn Owl                                       P               There must be one nearby on the farmland?

Hoopoe                                          F                I dream of finding one of these on the track

Wryneck                                       F                A bogey bird, one here would be amazing

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker       P               Surely, the site seems perfect

Merlin                                            L                Hunting Finches over the clearfell in winter

Ring-necked Parakeet                 P               Has been recorded from Asda opposite

Great Grey Shrike                        F                One day, in the birch line? I can dream…

Marsh Tit                                       P               Habitat seems right, perhaps they will move in

Yellow-browed Warbler             L                Almost certainly, one September morning

Dartford Warbler                         P               On the clearfell, with Stonechat in October

Nightingale                                    P               Spring migrant, in the Passage?

Redstart                                          L                Surely, one of these May mornings?

Whinchat                                       L                On the clearfell or farmland

Stonechat                                       L                On the clearfell, with Dartford, in October

Wheatear                                       L                The most likely of all, surely?

House Sparrow                             L                How have I not seen any yet on the farm

Brambling                                      L                In winter soon. Hut Wood is good for finches.

Linnet                                             P               On the farmland in a cold winter?


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