Thursday, January 27, 2005

East is east, and west is west – and sometimes the twain shall meet! 86 species in total

Taking the total distance over 200km for the week, I rode to Gosport and back in pretty foul weather today. Setting off at 1310, I thought I’d been lucky, as it had just stopped raining, and indeed it stayed dry, if pretty cold, all the way to the coast. A Snipe over Twyford was the first new bird, but I then had to wait until Gosport itself, where some Brent Geese on a playing field right by Safeways got me ticking over.

Within seconds of arriving at Walpole Park, I located the adult Ring-billed Gull, feeding happily on chips at about 5m range! Nice and easy....

Photo courtesy Peter Raby

Photo courtesy Marc Read

Photo courtesy Simon Colenutt

Alverstoke Creek had a Little Egret, and a few Ringed Plover and Dunlin. Shame I can’t count the Black Swan on the lake.

Hurrying round to HMS Sultan playing fields, I saw plenty of Golden Plover in among the Lapwing and 100s of Brent Geese, and a few scans easily revealed the regular BLACK BRANT – now what would the healthy competition with Chris Mills (see his blog) be without a bit of taxonomic controversy? My instinct is not to count it – but I might be tempted to push the point if he fails to see the regular bird at Wells-next-the-Sea in the next few weeks!

Photo courtesy Alan Lewis

The ride back was plain miserable, being net uphill, with a headwind, poor light, and frequent cold showers. Grim – but it only took me 20 minutes longer than the ride down, and I was pretty pleased with my average speed overall of just over 25km/h. And I am definitely getting fitter!