Birds, Leps, Observations & Generalities - the images and ramblings of Mark Skevington. Sometimes.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

A Challenging Start

Yesterday morning, bright and early, I set out from home on foot to start my 2013 challenges. After all the recent shite weather, it was really nice to set out into clear, still skies with the sun rising, and not too nippy either with the merest hint of a ground frost. I was also stone-cold sober - a feat in itself for 1st January - due to having been on Dad's Taxi service for Isabelle.

I'd planned to head straight through the village and on to Jubilee Park, but on the way I took a slight diversion through a local park in Whetstone and eventually found my way through fields and across the railway line following a path that I didn't know existed. All being well, if you click the links under the following photos you see where it was taken on the map.

Sun rising and moon still high in the sky - Warwick Road park

Stop, Look, Listen, ignore the pants graffitti - railway crossing

I thoroughly enjoyed the early morning birding - nothing scarce or unexpected but good to see the common finches, tits and all five expected thrushes. I carried on walking to Jubilee Park where the Soar was still very high but the floodwaters had receded a little. Plenty of Wigeon around the pool, masses of gulls including a menacing Great Black-backed, big flyover flock of Lapwing and a nice male Shoveler on the pool to boot.

By the time I left Jubilee Park, I was on 34 species for my Foot It list, and 28 for my Patch Challenge list (some overlap north of the railway line, but my home estate is not in the patch area). I decided to keep going and headed to Narborough Bog in the hope of picking up Woodcock. Turned out to be a bad idea on the whole - despite the nice conditions on the day, the wet woodland at the Bog was very boggy indeed. Trying to walk through all of that was energy sapping to say the least and I was flagging a bit.

Turns out that wellies are great for bog trotting, but completely rubbish for a lengthy yomp from home.

Who ate all the mince pies - it would help if I wasn't so lardy
(some may recall an abandoned attempt to shift some lard last year).

By the time I'd hiked back home, I'd done a 13 and a bit kilometer circuit and walked/birded for 3.5 hours and was on 41 for Foot It, 35 for the patch - if the links work you can see my respective Bubo lists. I was in need of some hot tea and a light brunch.

I pottered about for a bit, headed into the loft to get the boxes down for the Christmas decos, and had a mooch about in the garden with my 1000 in 1kmsq challenge in mind.

After a tip off from Neil Hagley, I was out again in the afternoon for another hike to the Guthlaxton Trail where the flooded marsh that I noted last year was still looking good and was holding Snipe and Teal - two good birds for the lists. Also Goosander on the canal, plus Grey Heron and (oddly) Mallard that I'd missed earlier taking me to 46 Foot It, 40 Patch.

That really was it for the day - aside from getting some records onto BirdTrack and MapMate.

Today was back to work, so no hiking around in wellies (thankfully), though I did nip out to the balancing pool at Grove Park at lunch - a good move as Pochard, Gadwall and Little Grebe were good patch additions, along with Coot an Greylag Goose.

Back home after work, I ponced around in the garden for a few minutes with a torch and camera.

I'm hoping to get down the lane sometime this weekend - which will be good for the Foot It list and really kick-start my 1kmsq list.

1 comment:

Bennyboymothman said...

Keep it up Mark, I certainly enjoy reading your wildlife forays. I think Moths will be a slow start this year after all that bad weather we had last.