Monday 31 December 2012

It seemed like a good idea at the time

I began 2012 with a post about the birds in our garden at Tense Towers. On a similar local theme, I am going to end the year, and kick off the next, with another Tense-centric ornithological project.

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, because I'm lazy and unfit in the faint hope that I can manage a 5 to 6 mile circular walk if there's a particularly tricky species to see (there is, a Little Owl often roosts on the perimeter of my notional circle!).

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.


holdingmoments said...

Good luck with that venture Graeme. I'll stick to driving to Caldecotte. :-)
Have a good new year.

Imperfect and Tense said...

Thanks, Keith. No worries, the walk AROUND Caldecotte would be enough for me. When it's not flooded, obviously!

Martin said...

Best of luck with the counts and the weather. I'm also hoping for a dry UK spring, bringing with it dense jelly numbers in the Irish Sea (I hope/think).

Bonne Annee 2013 to all at Tense Towers.

Imperfect and Tense said...

Thanks, Martin. Today has been glorious sunshine from the word "Go!"

[Wears confused look] Isn't the Irish Sea a long way from Nice?

Martin said...

In travelling time, I can probably get to Belfast in the same length of time from Nice or Swansea.. but a guy's just got to go where the work is. All I have to do is justify why I should still be involved in an old collaboration..

Imperfect and Tense said...

Ah, I see. Or rather, you, sea.

When you mentioned the Irish Sea, I assumed that you meant accessing it from this side, not the Irish side. Oops.

Best of luck, we hope your plans work out.