Wednesday 2 January 2013

Whatever happened to the Peanut Challenge?

It seemed like a good idea at the time, pitting two almost entirely bird-free patches against each other, and seeing which one was truly the worst. Secretly of course, both James and I wanted to be able to say that our patch was the most awful - indeed the perfect competition would have been one where the lowest score triumphed, but that would have meant four versus five or something, and lots of delusional not-seeing of birds that were in fact present. So instead we bit the bullet and went for the highest total wins, and then secretly both tried really hard whilst pretending not to enjoy it, staking an immensely valuable packet of peanuts on the outcome - a prize particularly and pleasingly in synch with the quality of the patches.

And the result? Well rather fittingly it would appear to be a draw, with both Canary Wharf and Tower Bridge pulling in a lofty 42 species. By way of comparison in the same period I notched up 61 species in my garden, which measures about 20 feet by 80. Although this is truly abysmal, it's actually far more than I was expecting to get, with such local gems as Hobby, Chiffchaff, Goldcrest and Egyptian Goose, none of which I'd seen in over a decade working there. Just goes to show how much I like peanuts I suppose, though during the later stages of the year I barely managed to get out at all.

We thought about having 2013's prize be two packets of peanuts, a peanut rollover if you will, but have instead decided to symbolically share a packet of jointly-purchased peanuts at a conveniently-located pub, possibly also sharing a beer while we're at it. Or we might even push the boat out and have one each.


  1. Still can't believe I missed common tern - I had hundreds last year.

  2. Tower Bridge sounds like a positive Oasis compared to Aldgate. I managed 13 species most of which were Gulls.

  3. Both patches sound like a green oasis compared with the likes of Aldgate where I work. 13 species (mainly Gulls) last year.