Thursday, October 27, 2005

THE DOUBLE CENTURY! 200 species in total

At long last, I today achieved what I thought would be pretty much impossible back in January - 200 species in Hampshire in a year, by bike and on foot.

I have cycled 3827km (or 2378 miles), I've been in the saddle for just shy of a WEEK, and the average distance per species is 19.1km (or about 12 miles).

The magic species finally fell after a pretty agonising five day wait - it had been found last Sunday, but I was in Cornwall (Wryneck, Yellow-browed Warbler, Grey Phalarope, Hawfinch, Chough, Black Redstart all self-found) with a day trip to Scilly (Blackpoll Warbler, Sora and a vast dose of seasickness in SW6 winds!). And with Titchfield Haven only open Weds-Sun, I had to wait...

I arrived at about 0930, and decided to check the floods just south of the village first, as this is where bird had been reported on and off the day before. Within a few minutes - there it was! The first-winter LESSER YELLOWLEGS provided a suitably rare and spectacular 200th bird. My joy was complete when Julia arrived a few minutes later to share the bird (her first significant drive since her accident in the summer), and we happily headed off down to the Haven for tea and cake, before trying our luck on the reserve. There was little around - a Dartford Warbler and a late Swallow were the highlights, plus Clouded Yellow, Common Darter and a single Migrant Hawker - no sign of yesterday's Grey Phalarope.

But in highly unseasonable warm sunshine, and with a warm southerly breeze, who cares? Mission accomplished - thought there are still 9 weeks of birding to go before the end of the year!