08 March 2008

A fresh approach...

For a while now my bird watching has been somewhat infrequent. In fact, it’s been more or less nonexistent! A quick check of my records a short while ago revealed just how much I have let things slip... just 11 birding days in the past 12 months! Okay, so I’m no longer the “twitcher” that I once was but 11 birding outings in a year is not good enough! I need a fresh approach, a new challenge.

For the past few weeks I’ve been reading a book called The Big Year, by Mark Obmascik. In short, it tells the story of the race to see as many birds as possible in a single year, in North America. The year was 1998 and three birders found themselves going head to head against each other, and the birds! By the year's end Sandy Komito had not only beaten his own Big Year record, and in the process beaten the other two birders, but he had set what many people believe is a record that might never be bettered. During his 1998 Big Year Sandy Komito managed to locate an amazing 745 species!

As I neared the end of the book I started to feel the challenge of bird listing creeping back into my veins. Once I’d finished reading, I knew I needed that fresh birding challenge. That left me thinking about just what list to start or concentrate on.

A UK List? Done it in the past - now, it would be too time consuming, and the petrol bill too expensive!

A County List? Again, done it before - it is also one of the favourite lists for birders to try.

A Single Site List? Never tried that. It would be good to get to know a single area well over a 12-month period but, if things got a little quiet, I may well lose interest.

After a beer or two, and a look around a few web sites, I came up with my new approach to my birding... A 10-Mile List!

By using Free Map Tools I have set out my recording area, a 10-mile radius of home. The reasoning behind this is that I’ll (hopefully) not run up too much of a fuel bill, I’ll have a reasonable choice of habitat and with a bit of luck and commitment a good sized list by the end of the year. By restricting myself to just a 10-mile radius I’m also hoping to find a few new birding areas that I’ve never considered before.

Tomorrow, I’ll start working my new 10-mile patch, if the weather is okay that is!

I’ll be back tomorrow evening to post an update on how I get on.

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