Saturday, May 21, 2005

Be in no doubt: the Iron Man lives in HAMPSHIRE - a Cup Final day twitch. 177 species in total

This was the toughest yet, despite it not being very cold, and it not being the longest ride. Acting on a pager update, I left home at about noon in torrential rain, getting freezing cold and utterly bedraggled as I cycled mostly uphill to the north-east of Winchester. More positive news steeled my backbone, and the uphill continued, albeit with a following wind. Exhausted and very chilled, I reached Odiham and Tundry Pond at about 1400, and ran (yes, ran) down the towpath - I was not going to dip for the sake of a lazy five minutes on foot! Immediately on arrival - contact! The very fine adult WHISKERED TERN was still present with three or four Common Terns. A Hampshire tick, my first BB rare on the year-list, and a right mega. I felt so smug alongside Simon Ingram and several other car-based Hants listers!

The ride home was pretty diabolical - OK, the ride was net downhill, but the ever-stiffening headwind made it feel uphill! Add in a misaligned rear wheel and a slow puncture 10 miles from home (my hands were shaking so much I had trouble changing the tyre!), and this Whiskered Tern was one bird I had surely worked hard enough to deserve.