Friday 6 May 2016

Nice round numbers

If you read this blog back at the start of the year you may have noticed a bout of cycling-related enthusiasm. Any cynics reading may have thought this was merely a flight of fancy, a flash in the pan. They would have been partly right, as it's early May now and I've probably ridden to work only 15 times. I have many excuses, each more ingenious and inventive than the last. Weather is top of the list of course, it has simply not been nice. True cyclists are supposed to be tough, hardy, and impervious to water, cold or wind, just like birders... Well, I'm definitely a fair-weather birder, and so it will come as no surprise that I am also a fair-weather cyclist. And as it turns out, a fair-weather cyclist who is also quite happy to travel on public transport in fine weather too. 

Anyhow, I cycled today, and today I reached a milestone which is what I wanted to tell you about. Not only did I hit 287km for the year (a distance equivalent from London to Liverpool!), but I also recorded my 50th species whilst pedalling. I love a good list of course, and when I decided I would fight the flab and jump on the bike, the lure of a new list to keep was definitely a motivating factor. The 50th bird was an Oystercatcher on Bow Creek on my journey home, a bird I'd be pleased to see most places in London. On the way in this morning it had been preceded by a singing Whitethroat on a bush right by the side of the road on Wanstead Flats, and then a pair of Swift over the Barking Road when I was waiting at the McDonald's traffic lights. It's been rather good actually, and I'm fairly stunned at how many species so few journeys have gleaned.

I was hoping that today would also see the 51st actually but it didn't happen. I took a longer route home in order to twitch a Cetti's Warbler that Bob had found earlier in the day. Bob has dropped his hours again and now works 0.2 days per week, which puts him in the same "highly annoying" category as Nick, liable to find decent birds at any moment. And given that I am at 'any moment' as likely as not to be nowhere near the patch or able to get to it, this is becoming a source of some frustration. And this is the second time I've dipped Cetti's this week, and it's not only a new bird for all of us on the patch but also my prediction for 2016. So to be away when one eventually turns up, dip it when I get back and then miss and dip the second one only a few days later is very irritating indeed. Especially when I cycled an extra 2.3km to do so!  That said, two in five days is rather promising, and I doubt I'll be missing it for long. 

Did I mention I went to New York? I went cycling there too, I'm positively addicted.... Mrs L and I did well over 5km on a clapped out tandem in Brooklyn's Prospect Park. We didn't fall off and we're still married, so miracles do happen. It was an excellent ride for birds as it happens, and I nearly crashed multiple times as we kept seeing mega after mega all the way round



  1. As a scientist I should point out that two days a week is usually denoted 0.4 (WTE). As someone who works in business I'm sure you are equally obsessed with accuracy and truth :-)