No sooner had I got in from Rainham last Sunday than my back went. To a greater or lesser extent it was agony for the next few days, until I found an osteopath who would make a home visit. And then it was agony to a greater extent only, until the pummelling eventually unfused my lower spine and pelvis and I could begin to move again.
Being stuck in this painful position for a few days curtailed both work and birding, and it wasn’t until a second treatment session towards the end of the week that I was finally mobile enough to get out under my own steam. So on Good Friday morning I opted for a leisurely stroll in Broxbourne Woods and then Amwell, sans camera and lenses, and was just enjoying the first Swallows of the year when news broke of a flock of Common Scoter and a Brent Goose on Banbury Reservoir, further south in the Lea Valley.
I was there within half an hour and enjoying great scope views of the three drake and three duck scoter, with the Brent Goose occasionally drifting into view alongside them, and another Swallow overhead. It struck me that I’d now seen all the geese on the London list this year bar Egyptian Goose, which is ‘available’ any time and, to be honest, the least of my priorities.
I’ve never seriously attempted a London year list before, and I’m not about to begin one this year either. But it has been a cracking start to the year – by the end of March I’d logged 141 species in the capital (including the much-discussed Barnacle Goose at Rainham and the female Red-crested Pochard at Berwick Reservoir), and with Swallow and now Brent Goose that total is 143. A quick calculation of likely species suggests 180 or so should be possible with reasonable effort, while even 200 could be attainable if I really had the inclination. But I’m not sure that I do …