Sunday, 9 December 2012

Foot It

The 'Foot It' craze seems to be spreading through the birding community and what a great idea it is. The  Foot It blog goes into more detail so I won't do that here but basically the aim is to see as many birds as possible on foot from your home in January - no buses, no bikes and no cars - just on foot - got it! So inspired by the challenge I have set up my own Foot It area, and here it is:

My area is a 2.5km radius (well its a square radius) roughly centred on my house (red dot), the orange areas being those that I am most likely to bird. My Foot It patch takes in my local patch (orange shaded area to west of Romsey) which I have posted sightings from on this blog. This area includes the flood plain and grazing marshes of the River Test as well as Squabb Wood an area of mixed woodland. In addition it includes Fishlake Meadows, an area of floodland to the north of Romsey, this area attracts good numbers of gulls and wildfowl. The area to the south-west of Romsey is a mystery, I have never been there even though it is readily accessible so this should be an interesting element of Foot It - from an aerial photograph it looks to be mainly arable and pasture with water courses.

I think my area gives me a good range of bird species although I will struggle with some classic arable species such as yellowhammer and grey partridge and waders are pretty thin on the ground. I did a trial birding visit on Saturday 8th December walking through the area to the north-west of Romsey, crossing the railway track at Greatbridge and then back to the town through Fishlake Meadow during these three hours I recorded 62 species and missed a few obvious birds such as sparrowhawk, snipe, treecreeper and lesser redpoll - birds that are usually pretty reliable here. So I think that my target for January should be 85 having flicked through the Collins guide to see what else may be available on my patch. Looking forward to January and the challenge.......