Tuesday 26th January Gale force W (55mph) 12C very heavy rain all day
It doesn't take long to see the slavonian grebe once daylight returns. Last night's clear, star-filled sky has been replaced by thick low cloud and it is raining hard. The promised gale, the remnants of the storm that dumped over two feet of snow on the Eastern USA killing so many, has arrived this side of the Atlantic and the weather is truly foul outside the confines of the C.B.W.P.S. (Cornwall Bird & Wildlife Preservation Society) hide.
The slavonian grebe, a bird that takes me to 144, is quite distant and after texting the news I am unsure that I did see it as a little grebe extends its neck before flying closer. I did see the bright white cheeks didn't I? Scanning again I cannot see a slav'.
Half an hour later the slavonian grebe comes closer and I get photos and a short thirty second video as it bobs up and down on the sea-like swell.
With no intention of cycling in this squall; it would be suicidal to even try, I settle down in my sleeping bag and read and watch. Birds are few and far between; four little grebe occasionally come close catching small sticklebacks and the occasional gull lands on the water to preen.
A male goldeneye stays around in front of the hide for an hour or so.
The book is called Austerity by Kerry-Anne Mendoza and details the current obscenity of Neo-liberalism and the destruction of all that I hold dear; education, NHS, the Justice system and social compassion.
The other book I have with me is by Roz Savage and is the story of her rowing across the Atlantic. She is eloquent and intelligent and the read is inspirational. “If one is going to be outside one's comfort zone then expect things to be uncomfortable.” I'm wrapped up and cosy in this small bird hide.
Midday, rain and wind still battering the water, I am joined in the hide by Jim, a birder from Newquay. Together we watch as the slavonian grebe swims very close by and a firecrest is seen to the right of the hide; my second of the year.
The Green Year list now stands at 144, twenty ahead of where I was at this time last year.