Pandemics aren’t just for humans

I had only a brief walk today, at the pools just to the east of Wells, where I saw most of the usual suspects, and got good views of a female marsh harrier. I also saw a barn owl quartering the area: I watched it in the distance and then saw it coming closer before losing track of it behind the hedge I was walking along. Then – a minute or so later – it came up silently over the top of the hedge about five feet away from me, saw me and sped off! I see quite a lot of barn owls, but I never tire of them, and seeing one so close – even if very briefly – was magical.

Some of you – all of you I hope – will be aware of avian influenza, or bird flu. I have been seeing more bird corpses than I ever have before, including a gull today, and it is all part of this massive epidemic. Not only is the disease decimating thriving seabird populations, it’s also having a potentially catastrophic effect on species that were already in sharp decline. If you’d like to find out more then this article on the Natural History Museum website is perhaps a good starting point:

No new bird species today, so I’m still at 99 and wondering what my 100th species of 2023 will be….

barn owl (photo taken 2019)

No new species for January 20th.

Birds = 99
Moths = 0
Wildflowers = 11