With an expanding waistline (bacon junkie) and wanting to prove a point I accepted my challenge "TO ONLY BIRDWATCH IN NORTHAMPTONSHIRE AND DO IT BY FOOT, BIKE OR PUBLIC TRANSPORT". hmmm. I done a bit of cycling in 2014 but this was different a wager was in place and I don't like handing money over, especially to mates.
January didn't start well with me being knocked off my bike and broken arm bones putting me out of action. I tried using public transport and walking but it doesn't work in Northamptonshire the public transport sucks, not linked up correctly and only one bus operator means it's very much a cartel.
My wager didn't start until February really and after examination of many maps I got my areas and routes sorted and for fun set myself a not unachievable 120 birds for the year for my "carbon free" list.
This site is a firm favourite of mine. It's underwatched and mixed habitat.
A Marsh Harrier thought to be migrant was the first true star of the site, but is it now the bird that's taken winter residency?
|COMMON WHITETHROAT (JUVENILE)|
|LESSER WHITETHROAT (JUVENILE)|
On paper it should be devoid of any wildlife of note but it isn't and 2015 was a good year for the quarry. Not in actual interesting birds as such but for it's future. Plans were in motion to start quarrying again but those plans have now been axed for good.
The year started off nicely with three Wheatears stopping off on migration
Still I did get one of my hunches proven with the Little Owl turning up right were I had hoped for.
But sadly the Northants birding scene lost one Blogger and very friendly and good birder John Finlayson who suddenly passed away and will be sadly missed.
I did visit other sites like Welford, Cottesbrooke and Blueberry Farm/Maidwell and Pitsford reservoir. I also found wildlife in the most unusual places too, it's fair to say I was getting hooked on cycling as the weight fell off it got easier too.
Wildlife would often find me. A cycle up a quiet and tree covered lane had me stopping off for a refreshment break and getting out of the sun for a few moments, I had a wonderful encounter with a Chiff-Chaff.
It came and used my camera bag as perch to catch/search for insects. It kept coming and going and even left a deposit on my bag but it was great just sitting in the shade, occasionally taking a photo and enjoying the ambience of a country lane time had forgotten about, surely this is what birding is all about?
The summer came and went too quickly. In my opinion Autumn migration really didn't take off, sure bits and bob's were passing through but no real big surge, the best moment from my perspective came over three days on the Brampton Valley. The first day was a late hatching of flying ants that attracted every bird and gave a good view what lurked along this section. A day later saw loads of juvenile Lesser Whitethroats, a female Redstart, a Quail and a pair of Whinchats
So my resolutions for this year:
1)Stop picking fights with self appointed idiots (that's going to be a struggle)
2) keep on cycling- it's become addictive. I even got a new bike, again. But still no lycra lol.
3) Give up smoking, I'm half way there with vaping.
4) part exchange my Golf Gti with it's hybrid cousin the Gte (e is for electric) the claimed 168mpg seems tempting to me.
Time will tell which resolutions I adhere to but cycling will be one definate 'stayer'....who would've thought that?