Saturday, 26 January 2013

Walking to the edge - 26th January 2012

At the start of Footit, I think you it's natural to wonder how far you are prepared to walk from your house, and the initial estimate isn't very big at all. On the first day, Matt and I decided to push the boundaries that little further and walked all the way to Llanfairfechan and back, which as the crow flies, is 7 miles from my house, but is actually more like 8.5 after cutting out Porth Penrhyn.
As a result, we decided to draw a circle around Bangor with the same 7 mile radius as this could easily be done. Ideas started to flow when we saw what sort of habitats we could cover and today, I woke up at 4am and set out alone to Malltraeth Marsh, right at the edge of my circle. The walk saw me arrive at Malltraeth at 6.45 after a 9.2 mile walk in complete darkness.
As the sky started to get lighter, I started hearing the first birds and these were mainly Snipe and Redwing. I noticed a large heron flying over the reeds in silhouette, but I just couldn't be sure it was a Bittern, so this really frustrated me. It wasn't long before I got my first Footit Tick in the form of a Water Rail shortly followed by a flock of 6 Pink-footed Geese flying over the marsh. Shortly after this, I started walking to a body of water that held over 300 Coot as well as several Gadwall and Pochard which were both big surprises! I then caught the familiar song a Cetti's Warbler which again was real quality and a bird we could only get here.
As the sun came up, I knew that that Heron sp was probably my missed opportunity for Bittern, which was disappointing, but this soon went away as a male Marsh Harrier flew low over my head!
The next two birds that I ticked off were two birds that I was incredibly surprised I hadn't got by now and birds I should have gotten on my very first day! These were Reed Bunting and Pheasant! I jumped in the air when the Pheasant first called!
I was extremely tired at the point and I think I knew that I wasn't likely to get that much if I stayed any longer, so I decided to walk the 9.2 miles home to complete the 18.4 mile journey! After covering the majority of the journey home, I noticed some geese in a field which all turned out to be Canada Geese! Another bird that I probably should have got by now, but these are really hard to come by in the Bangor area and I only remember seeing them 2 times before today!

A really really tiring day that the blisters on my feet are reminding me about, but with 19 new species in 48 hours, you really can't complain!

No comments: