Friday, 3 September 2010

Unfit

Having done very little birding (or anything else much) over the summer, I thought I ought to make a start on trying to get into some sort of shape before Shetland. Otherwise I won’t even be able to make it to the Toab shop before Mark eats all the pies, let alone slog round South Mainland looking for rares for ten days!

So, there’s been an easterly wind for several days, loads of stuff on the east coast – time to check out Burrough Hill again. I’m sure if someone was able to do Burrough Hill every day, it would produce something really good. I know it’s in the middle of boring Leicestershire farmland about 40 miles from the coast, and it doesn’t even stick up that much from the east (it’s more of an escarpment than a hill), but it does seem to have an attraction for migrants.

What I was really hoping for of course was a flyover Lapland Bunting, a species I still need for my county list. John and Dave had one here in October 2008, so it’s not an outrageous thing to hope for, especially given the unprecedented numbers around the country at the moment. But on arriving at about 08:00 it was immediately obvious that nothing at all was flying over as the early morning fog cleared. So I turned my attention to the bushes on the south side of the hill fort, which is where most of the migrants usually are. One of the first birds I saw was this female Redstart, which I was well pleased with, not having seen one in the county since 2002. Even better, I then found another three nearby (including two males which I couldn’t get near enough to photograph), plus Tree Pipit, Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Wheatears and a good assortment of warblers including 2 Garden Warblers.


I’ve always thought the southern slope of the hill looks perfect for a Wryneck, so I was slightly annoyed to get an email about one in Great Glen whilst actually walking through this bit. It should have been here! Fortunately I don’t need Wryneck for my county list, so I was able to ignore it (after putting it out on Twitter) and carry on.

Climbing up the ramparts of the hill fort and then back up the valley on the north side of the hill proved to me just how unfit I really am – I was well and truly fucked by the time I got back to the car. I’ve got a lot of work to do in the next month....

7 comments:

Dr David Boyce said...

To be fair though, it is a very steep hill!

The Leicester Llama said...

It is, but I used to be able to walk up it easily without feeling like I was about to die on reaching the top!

Mark said...

Unlike you Andy I have been on a fitness regime for several months dropping almost 1.5 stone and regularly walking long distances with all my gear. Not too much of a worry Andy we're only up against the Levenwick losers ;-)

The Leicester Llama said...

To be honest Mark I'm like this every year until I start to get some enthusiasm for birding again in the autumn. Luckily the weather is looking promising for the next week or so (for the midlands and east coast at least - bollocks to the predicted avalanche of 'yank ultramegas', I shan't be seeing any of them even if they do materialise) so plenty of encouragement to get out there and regain my 'fighting weight'. Not that I intend to do any fighting of course, being a peaceable sort of person.

thedrunkbirder said...

Mark, I doubt we'll be able to leave the garden it'll be dripping with rares!

Earl Gray or Dave for short! said...

Mark I have been cycling to work for most of the year, so I have been keeping my fighting weight!

thedrunkbirder said...

Yeah - Heavy! ;-)