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Due to the Covid-19 lockdown and the fact that I don’t drive, this year’s birding has been a bit different from previous years, with no birding trips away and very limited access to public transport. I actually decided back in February, before the lockdown even began, that I would focus this year on ‘my patch’, and then along came the corona virus and I basically had no other choice.

200817 common sandpiper (1)

My patch isn’t really a defined area – it’s how far I can walk from home, with the proviso that I can use public transport in one direction, so bus there – walk home or train there – walk home, though I haven’t done that since we locked down in March.

200817 common sandpiper (2)

Much to my surprise, with the addition of this lovely Common sandpiper along the Ely embankment of Cardiff Bay on Friday, I have now seen 111 species in 2020. And that’s without chasing some of the birds I might have seen – a posse of Cattle egrets in Cardiff Bay one day but I’d already walked 6 miles that day and couldn’t face another long stomp; a couple of gull species that milled around in the middle of Cardiff Bay but which I find almost impossible to spot without the help of someone with a telescope; and others.

200817 common sandpiper (3)

Though it’s always nice to see the more unusual birds, this has been the perfect time to get to know my local area much better, and to appreciate how lucky I am to have several different types of habitat within walking distance. And, with the autumn bird migration now getting underway and the possibility of winter bringing in a few different species, I’m excited to see what this year’s total will finally be. I’ll report back in December but, in the meantime, I’ll keep enjoying the birds, like this handsome sandpiper, that pop up in my patch.

200817 common sandpiper (4)