Friday, 1 February 2013

Foot It Summary

I posted on the Foot It blog but not here. I scraped in at 100% with the last role of the dice. Exactly 78 species. The final bird was a group of 5 Canada Geese on Wansford Mill Pond. I walked 12.5km yesterday in 50mph gusting gales. I managed a Green Sandpiper and 5 Teal but I had lost the faith after 9km. The carrs were devoid. Empty. Nada. Nothing. Never have 5 feral geese filled my heart with such joy. I am still chuffed that on an area of farmland with a few drains, with a canal and small chalk stream, with very little in the way of trees managed to give such rich rewards. I managed to see 80 species in the month in the area but Pintail and Shelduck were sadly motorised.

 The highlights, kicking a Bittern out of a small reedbed at 11pm in the snow, a Twite flushing from a stubble field as I walked past, Green Sandpiper feeding amongst Redwing, the flyby Shoveler, the 3 Golden Plover in a winter wheat field, the Wigeon & Teal on the mere. All amazing but all these did was highlight that if you go birdwatching you will see birds. The very best thing was the discovery of 2 Short-eared Owls wintering on the south end of Nafferton Carrs. These guys have given me so much pleasure during the last week of the challenge but sadly no decent photos.

A daily sight. Brilliant!
 I have walked over 100km and burnt over 10,000 calories walking around the local area this month and this has had the desired effect. I'm smaller than pre-christmas and thanks to patch challenge hopefully I will continue to put the miles in and reap the rewards. I will be continuing to keep a close eye on the local area and all thanks are due to Mark, Martin & Tom who thought up the original idea. I will be seeing what I get for the year in the same area I have walked. Perhaps 130 species are possible? At least 15-20 migrant breeders plus passage birds and those I have plain missed. Where were the Little Owls, Red-legged Partridges, Little Egret, Pochard etc. Who knows but I do understand my local area that bit better. I know where to look for Siskin & Redpoll, where Hares box, where Roe Deer sleep, how many pairs of Grey Partridge are in their favoured field. Fingers crossed I continue this remarkable lesson on my locale and with the Pan Patch Challenge perhaps I will learn even more of its diversity.

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