I, like many of you I suspect, made a New Year's resolution to be a bit more healthy, which I duly kept for all of 2 weeks. Lately I have been having a relapse and have tried to get out and run wheeze heavily a couple of times a week.
Weeknights this is fine. I head over to Hylands park which is a big open space with a big 0.4 mile loop of tarmac and virtually no birds of note. I can stumble round the loop with impunity.
Today, perhaps inspired by the marathon, I thought I'd try something a bit more scenic and do a REALLY LONG circuit through Harrow Lodge park, round some bits of Dagenham Chase and then back through the park again. The trouble is, Dagenham Chase has lots of birds, and I am incapable of just running past a bush if there's an interesting song coming from it. As a result I did a lot more walking than planned. Still, it was 6 miles or so under the belt and the distance covered is more important than the speed.
Birds added to the year list included Willow Warbler, Whitethroat and House Martin. Had what I THINK was a Reed Warbler. It was the other side of a thick bush, so I couldn't see a thing. My warbler ear, not strong to start with, has atophied over the winter so I stand no chance of splitting it from Sedge on song alone.
Aside from the ticks, I heard more Chiffchaffs over Harrow Lodge park than I could shake a heavy stick at and had a Carrion Crow confuse me greatly by flying past with something large and orange in its bill. This made it look like either a Chough or the worlds most monstrous Blackbird. Neither of those two is very likely round these parts, but I had to hunt it down just to make sure. A Crow it remained. I also scared up a Green Woodpecker every hundred paces round Eastbrookend Country park. Some of the best views I've ever had of them though - will have to take the camera over there and try for flight shots.
So some good, if unintentional, birding and a warm fuzzy feeling inside from exercising which will surely resolve into agonising cramps by tomorrow morning as I drag myself into work. Good stuff.