Tuesday 23 January 2024

An enthusiasm for numbers

In a post towards the end of last I spent a lot of time obsessing about numbers. Amongst other things about how I had not quite managed to see 1000 birds during the year, how I might have another go this year, that kind of thing. Of interest to noone but myself really. Ideal blog material...

Obviously it is a lot easier at the beginning of the year, but I just noticed that I had already cleared 300 in 2024. 220+ species in The Gambia and Senegal in the first week of the year has clearly made quite the difference, but more importantly it has generated enthusiasm that is not normally present in January. Not only about the prospect of foreign travel and a nearly blank year in the calendar to fill up, but also about what a day on the coast might bring at this time of year, or a simple visit to Walthamstow. What might a trip to Fife add? All of a sudden I find myself thinking about salt marshes and mudflats, rather than where the local Mistle Thrush is hiding (a great deal of energy, both physical and mental, expended on this so far pointless question!).

I love planning, and whilst I don't have the mental capacity to work out exactly what the remaining 698 species are and where I will see them, I can at least start to consider some ballpark numbers. A trip to America in April for instance, how many might that add? What if I were to go to Spain, that kind of thing. 

I think I'll start closer to home though. If these relentless storms would just pack it in I might be tempted by Kent. If not, a quick spin around Rainham perhaps, I've not been there for ages and winter is a good time there, I could add all sorts of things, and it would make a pleasant change from traipsing around Wanstead which I have been doing a lot of lately. Yes, I think I'll do that.

In closing, here's a photo from Argentina of a knacked old Ford truck from the barrio of La Boca in Buenos Aires. No particular reason other than I don't have a photo of a Mistle Thrush.


  1. You've got some good stuff in Fife. What are good times of the year? May make a trip myself

    1. I think winter is the best time, but basically it is anything apart from summer. Spring and autumn can be great if you catch the right weather, especially autumn for sea-watching. I've booked a lot of trips up this year to try and get in on some of the action.