With a trip from Yorkshire to Cornwall on the agenda it was an opportunity for one of my favourite activities; spotting birds from a train window.
It’s a trip that takes in dozens of habitats from meadow to farmland to forest to wetland to estuary. So there’s a lot to see.
Identifying it all is another matter though, and generally it’s only the larger birds you get to name. So what was on the list today?
As always pigeons and corvids dominate, with Wood Pigeon and Carrion Crow the most common. Stock Dove, Collared Dove and Feral Pigeon too.
Magpies, Rooks and Jackdaws were all spotted, and there was a bonus Jay being bothered by gulls.
From Bristol onwards gulls were plentiful, often nesting on the roof of industrial buildings in crude mud piles with the occasional chick peering out. Many were built next to overpriced and ineffective bird deterrents.
Once we hit the coast and various estuaries there were plenty of Little Egret and Grey Heron, plus Curlew, Lapwing, Oystercatcher and Redshank. There were ducks too including Mallard, Tufted and Shelduck.
House Martins, Swallows and Swifts were all enjoying the sun, and assorted tits and finches flitted in the trees.
Finally there was the usual extensive count of buzzard, plus the odd kestrel and sparrowhawk.
Not bad when whizzing past at over 100mph!