Thursday, January 31, 2013

Foot It

On foot

I've been taking part in Foot It, a bit of a competition to encourage interest in local birding. I had to predict how many species I could see within a 4-mile radius of my house, all on foot. 

River Ivel

I had a bit of a think about what was feasible and guessed at 95 species. As it turned out, 97 species were recorded on my patch during the month, so my guess wasn't too far off... Not too bad for Bedfordshire, is it?

Blunham Lake

Aside from walking to work, my last Foot It outing was on Sunday. A Smew had been seen at Blunham the day before, so I dragged myself out there to peer through the trees from behind a barbed-wire fence. No Smew for me, but I did get terrible views of a few Shoveler, so it wasn't entirely a wasted journey (a round trip of nearly 8 miles).

The route I'd taken to the lake had been pretty terrible (unkempt footpaths littered with canine deposits) so I decided to return through town. It turned out to be a good call as I bumped into seven Waxwings by accident - extra pleasing as I'd found 15 a week earlier but while I was in the car...

I'm pretty happy with my score - should have got a few more but ran out of time. Commuting aside, I walked nearly 29 miles (all in a new pair of Muck Boots - they are awesome), explored some footpaths I should've done a long time ago, and got to know my local area a lot better. I also found Otter tracks not far from home, which might even be my highlight of the month.

It's got me thinking about maybe trying to do a patch year-list - I think 150 could be possible in theory - but we'll see...

Thanks, Foot It!

(Full list follows, if you're interested)


What I saw: 
  • Black-headed gull
  • Blackbird
  • Blue tit
  • Bullfinch
  • Buzzard
  • Canada goose
  • Carrion crow
  • Cetti’s warbler
  • Chaffinch
  • Chiffchaff
  • Coal tit
  • Collared dove
  • Common gull
  • Coot
  • Cormorant
  • Corn bunting
  • Dunnock
  • Fieldfare
  • Gadwall
  • Goldcrest
  • Golden plover
  • Goldfinch
  • Great crested grebe
  • Great spotted woodpecker
  • Great tit
  • Green woodpecker
  • Greenfinch
  • Grey heron
  • Grey partridge
  • Grey wagtail
  • Greylag goose
  • Herring gull
  • House sparrow
  • Jackdaw
  • Jay
  • Kestrel
  • Kingfisher
  • Lapwing
  • Lesser black-backed gull
  • Lesser redpoll
  • Linnet
  • Little egret
  • Little grebe
  • Long-tailed tit
  • Magpie
  • Mallard
  • Meadow pipit
  • Merlin
  • Mistle thrush
  • Moorhen
  • Mute swan
  • Nuthatch
  • Pheasant
  • Pied wagtail
  • Pochard
  • Raven
  • Redwing
  • Reed bunting
  • Robin
  • Rock dove
  • Rook
  • Shelduck
  • Shoveler
  • Siskin
  • Skylark
  • Snipe
  • Song thrush
  • Sparrowhawk
  • Starling
  • Stock dove
  • Tawny owl
  • Teal
  • Treecreeper
  • Tufted duck
  • Waxwing
  • Wigeon
  • Woodcock
  • Woodpigeon
  • Wren
  • Yellowhammer
Target species that other people saw on 'my' patch but I didn't:
  • Crossbill
  • Firecrest*
  • Jack Snipe
  • Red Kite
  • Red-legged Partridge
  • Smew
  • Stonechat
  • Water Rail
Extras which I didn't expect and didn't see, but other people did:
  • Barnacle Goose
  • Bearded Tit
  • Egyptian Goose
  • Goosander
  • Pink-footed Goose
  • Pintail
  • Ringed Plover
  • White-fronted Goose*
  • Woodlark
*single observer