Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Reflecting on the sanity of chasing 250 this year

I'm sitting in the garden again tonight, it must be around 26 degrees this evening but yesterdays blue sky has more than a hint of cloud in it. It's that muggy feeling that precedes rain. With the Olympic opening ceremony on Friday I find myself praying for it to stay dry for all the people involved but I must admit it feels like rain is not far away again.
Anyway I'm sitting here reflecting on the why and the how of my challenge to see 250 birds this year now that the target has been reached.
The why is a lot harder to answer than the how so I'll start with the how.
Trips have included a flight to Glasgow followed by three days in Scotland taking in such highlights as Loch Ness, Loch Garton, Loch Lomond, The Cairngorms and Aviemore all those places you read about.
Two trips to Wales and a boat ride to Skomer Island. Here I've also taken in such places as Strumble Head and Dinas reserve along with Teiffi marshes.
I've been to Dungerness, Elmley, Stodmarsh, Capel Fleet & Oar Marsh in Kent.
Pagham Harbour, Rye Harbour , Hayling Island all had day trips too.

Cley and Titchwell reserves in Norfolk as well as a string of other venues such as Salthouse, Burnham, Thornham, Wolferton Triangle, Lynford,  Sherringham, Ranworth Broad and Brancaster and of course Strumpshaw Fen along with the neighbouring Buckenham Marsh.
Minsmere in Suffolk along with visits to Winterton, Horsey, Lowestoft, Dunwich, Walberswick along that East Coast and of course Lakenheath and West Stow in the Brecks.
I've travelled to Hampshire and spent time in the New Forest as well as twitching in Hordle, Worthing, Meare Heath , Oxford, Maldon, Chew Valley / Blagdon lakes and of course Rickmansworth Aquadrome for the Little Bittern.

In my home county of Essex I've visited Vange Marsh, Rainham Marsh, West Canvey Marsh, Abberton, Lea Valley, Chafford Hundred, East Tilbury, Fingringhoe and Tollesbury plus Old Hall Marshes and Roding Valley. I've popped across the water for a couple of days at Crayford Marsh too.

A day out in Yorkshire saw me visit Bempton Cliffs. Add the odd trip to Cambridgeshire and places like Welney and Wicken Fen along with Sandy and East Hyde in Beds followed by Whilstone/ Startops End reservoirs in Bucks. Throw in a little London in Walthamstow and Staines reservoirs, Hayes for the RB Shrike and of course Crossness for the Bonapartes Gull and I think that about covers the how.

Thousands of miles, lot's of hours and plenty of coffee.
So anybody thinking it's easy....think again it takes a lot of effort.

Along the way I've seen five species of Deer, Foxes, Rabbits, Hares, Stoats and Weasels, an Adder and a Basking Shark. We've seen Seals and Porpoise not to mention the countless butterlies. moths insects and amphibians. We've rescued a dog and we've been towed home too.

Now the why?
I can't answer it other than to say that it's my hobby, I enjoy it and the challenge of getting 250 made me do more of it. It's taken me to the places above which have been fantastic to see, It's got me out in fresh air filling my lungs with it which can't be a bad thing and it's given me some quality time with my brother Jim (oh and the old fella should get a mention here too for keeping me entertained on many of the above trips.)

The highlight would have to be the Sea Eagle and the general scenery of Scotland.

So in summary the why is more about giving me a reason to go than actually achieving any goal or satisfaction from the numbers.
August is approaching now and with it will come a host of migrants I'm sure so I'm bracing myself for a new challenge to find ten new birds before the end of August! now that'll give me another reason to get out some more I hope.

No comments:

Post a Comment