Monday, 28 July 2008

The advantages of birding on foot over cycle birding

Yesterday turned out to be a lovely day. The sun was bright and hot with not a cloud in the sky. I was so taken in that I decided to leave my bike behind and walk this birding trip……and did it pay off. oh yes..I had one of my better birding days in the UK yet. First of all I was able to get pictures of the buzzard as it headed towards its nest, which I found last week. Its a shame that my closest shot ended up in the bottom of the frame.


Cycling gets you to places effortlessly, it allows you to go further and you don’t tire easily. These are surely advantages to consider, but on the other hand. Cycles are restrictive, you cant go everywhere that you can go on foot, they become a liability when you want to explore a non-cycleable route and you worry if it will still be in the place you locked it at when you return. Furthermore a cycle moves too fast and too noisily that it either scares away or passes by wildlife too fast for you to be able to notice. Walking enables you to see so much more as I discovered yesterday.


For instance, inspite of having travelled this way many times by cycle, I hesitated to take a path which looked uncycleable. Yesterday however I chose to walk that path and was rewarded by reaching  an amazing landmark on blackberry hill overlooking the entire hillside. I`ve often seen this point while climbing the hillside and wondered how to get there until today happened. 



I also spied this water body (Duchess pond) which I actually explored today. I had seen it from my cycle earlier but didnt go near as I thought it was a private camping area.


There were`nt may water birds as I expected but there were some Moorhens and Coots.


It was while heading away from the pond that I got my best shots of swallows. I`d been wanting to get their pictures but the fast and far away flight put them out of reach until this happened.


I cant believe how close they let me get before they flew away.

Soon after, I decided to continue onto Snuff mills, and here I was able to get my first snaps of a grey wagtail. Again, my camera struggled in the dark conditions but I did get two not-that-bad pictures.


In snuffmills, I saw more common birds such as this baby blacbird,


this Moorhen and the mallard family below.


I sat down to have my lunch reminiscing my kingfisher spotting the last time I’d been here, and lo what should fly past me but a kingfisher! I tried my best to follow it and I did spot it again. I was getting into position for a snap but a crowd of noisy walkers scared it away!

On my way back, I spotted this Jay which as usual evaded giving me a good picture.


however, as the final trophy that seemed to reinforce the fact that walking gives you far more options to sneak up on birds, I was able to approach this unsuspecting Kestrel and get one good picture before it detected me.


....and thus I arrived at the conclusion that walking and birding was a much more ideal combination to birding. However on the flip side I was dog tired and did wake wake up with aches and pains all over, but I guess that's only the first time. I`m looking forward to next weeks birding walk!

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