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Happy New Year!

At last the cloud has lifted. We have said good-bye to all our covid-tested Christmas visitors — family now gone home leaving that empty anti-climax and separation sadness. But wait! — It is the beginning of the nature-watchers year!

This kestrel feels the same!

We’ve been up to Rutland Water, up before dawn and seen 46 different bird species for the first time in 2022 — including red kites and kestrel, 2 avocets —

There were 4 great white egrets, 3 curlews and lots of pintail ducks (this one with tail sadly depressed).

Several beautiful smew were enjoying the unseasonally warm weather.

There were more golden plover than you could shake a stick at and anyway I have given up my stick as my new knee is now fully commissioned!

We looked high

and low!

And we listened to the yaffle of the green woodpecker and the piping of the widgeon.

The RSPB rat, cleaning up under the bird feeders, came to say hello — I have a soft spot for rats!

We witnessed the ferocious battle between two cormorants as they wrestled for possession of a large fish which eventually got away. One bird attacked from the air, dragging the other below the surface of the now turbulent water, they were gone for a few moments then erupted again and again with more splashing and flailing of wings — what mastery of their elements — how silly… They lost the fish and sailed off in opposite directions looking embarrassed.

Great white egret — like some of the other illustrations, this was not actually taken today — spot the seasonal inconsistences!
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