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Chooseday: Rock Pipit & Blackcap

Rock Pipit

The Severn Estuary is a bare ten-minute walk from Gibb Towers but Ashlands has so captivated me that only this afternoon did I finally get to the coast. The next ten minutes took me through Eastwood Nature Reserve, where I added coal tit to the year’s walking list. Then a passing common gull pushed that up to 48. Yesterday’s stonechat had joined forces with pochard, snipe, fieldfare, redwing and greenfinch to take me way past the 40 I reported previously.

Rounding Battery Point, I got to Woodhill Bay, where a salt marsh guarantees rock pipit and it didn’t disappoint. It’s actually possible to pick this species up in the Marina; the pipits round here are not shy! Anyway, Rocky was year bird 109 and scanning a flock of house sparrows brought me number 110 with a lucky blackcap.

That was foot list species 50 already, on this Tuesday, or Chooseday as it’s known around Bristolian parts. That’s right: the headline is not a typo or a whimsy. It’s a car-free challenge, which I am happy to support, especially as my motor hasn’t turned a wheel since Saturday.

So, 50 before February was eminently doable and it quickly went up to 51 when a heron loped over. The only wonder is that it was such a late entry, what with all the ponds, marshes, mud and just general water around here. I’m heading for 60 (in age as much as anything else).

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