Wednesday, March 16, 2005

"I am Iron Man" - a triathlon triple whammy. 127 species in total

A finely timed rapid reaction today – a 69km round trip in 3½ hours, including the birding time at the far end! Leaving Winchester, I was warm and feeling full of the joys of spring – on arrival at Titchfield Haven, squalls were whipping in from the sea, and the windspeed was increasing fast. I bought my ticket, only to be told that my main target bird was visible only from the furthest hide on the east side of the reserve! So I half walked, half ran down the track/boardwalk, and took a chance on a look from the middle (Suffern?) hide. Success! The Spoonbill was showing (and feeding) distantly among a group of gulls – a distinct slice of luck given that it had (reportedly) been out of sight or asleep for most of the rest of the day.

Feeling buoyed up, I whizzed back round to the Meon Shore hide, hoping to tick my next target and then go. But could I find it? Nope. A Ruff provided considerable consolation, but I had no choice but to yomp round to the hide on the western side – another 500m each way! There, it was much easier – the Avocet was feeding quite happily right in front of the hide, but as suspected, out of sight from the previous one!

No time to lose now – I had to get back. So with a following wind (in places), I completed my triathlon by virtually swimming back home along treacherously wet and oily roads, getting utterly soaked, but home in time for a shower and presentability (just) in time! The really big downer? I LOST MY MOBILE SOMEWHERE!

Another very respectable ride, I think - 26.1 km/h average, and for the first time, it felt like the road was ‘shedding’ me, actually pushing me along rather than holding me back. Totally psychological, but welcome – I think I’m coming into a bit of form, despite my rather dodgy right wrist... Now over 8km per bird seen, and over 1000km on the clock.