A couple of birders have set up a national* challenge called Foot It for the month of January 2013. In essence, anyone taking part estimates the number of species that they are likely to see on their local patch, during the month.
The catch is that no transport is allowed, other than your feet. You have to walk there AND back. So, with the prospect of some healthy exercise and a bit of nature watching to boot, what's not to like?!
I've limited myself to a 2.5 mile radius of Tense Towers,
Fortunately, there's plenty of habitat not too far from home, a good mixture of rivers, fields, lakes and woodland. However, before I've even taken the first step, I may have tripped myself up by estimating an optimistic 89 species.
As my occasional (oh, ok, constant) mutterings have alluded to of late, there's been plenty of rainfall around the country. I carefully forgot this fact when calculating my species target, so if the Great Ouse is in flood, I will not be able to reach Little Linford Wood without a detour of several miles. This would involve a journey to the east or west to find a bridge that is passable and not underwater. A brief glimpse at the local OS map (Landranger 152) tells me that this would mean a 15 or 16 mile hike. Not impossible, obviously, but rather more of a challenge than I was initially contemplating. The days when I could manage 90km in 19 hours are long gone and have been filed under "Memories of things I've done, but without the pain".
Here's hoping for some dry weather to start 2013!
* Actually, it's gone international, with entrants from The Netherlands and Austria.