8 February 2015

Two wheels good

Today was a beautiful late winter day, the kind that makes birding an absolute joy. But a promise is a promise, and I have pledged to join a 100 mile bike ride in May - meaning that a long, if reluctant, training session was required.

The good news is that if you live as I do near the mid-Warwickshire countryside, cycling and birding are by no means mutually exclusive.

In fact it's quite often the bird sightings which keep me going on a long ride - and with today's 40 miles taking the best part of 3 hours I had plenty of time to look.

It started well as I sped, still fresh legged, out of Offchurch and found my first singing skylarks of the year, as well as a small group of yellowhammers, the males vivid in the bright winter sun.

Shortly afterwards I found the first of what must have been a near double-figured haul of buzzards, and a kestrel wasn't far away. On my way into Birdingbury I rode alongside a flock of 20+ lapwing, resplendent in the bright, clean sunlight.

And, saving the best 'til last, a red-legged partridge ran alongside me in fields behind Long Itchington - a welcome year tick on what must have been the most physically demanding birding trip I have ever undertaken!

Bird of the day: Red-legged partridge (Alectoris rufa), an exotic looking game bird that brightens any walk across local farmland.

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