Sunday 9 January 2022

The Birding Year Ahead


Thanks for reading my blog. I do it mainly for myself, as I like looking back from time to time, to remind myself of what I've done and seen, but it is also nice to share my dodgy pics and stories with you all. And I really appreciate your support and occasional kind words!

The impact of my hobby on the climate crisis has been weighing heavily on my mind these last few years. A few years ago I imposed a two hour drive limit on my birding, pretty much restricting me to Yorkshire. However, even so, adding together all those trips round the local area, visits to the east coast during the autumn, and the occasional 'two hour' twitch thrown in and I amassed a rather shocking 8,000 driven birding miles in 2021! Even though many of these miles are in my low-emission Toyota Aygo, it is still pretty awful! 

As a family, we have chosen to live close to where we work, meaning both my wife and I can commute to work on our bikes. Of course at the moment this is less relevant as I work from home quite a lot due to the pandemic, but as we come out of it, I will be back on my bike. We made this choice as we work five days a week, whereas I only go birding one or two days a week, with the odd evening thrown in during spring and summer, so this largely made sense. Some of the biggest critics of carbon-burning birding I note, have done the opposite; live at a great birding location and then commute by car to work. Which is best? Who's to say! Anyway, I am pretty embarassed by the mileage I have racked up and so I am determined to do something about this. I live in York, it is pretty flat and has good transport links. Therefore, it should be easy to reduce my driven birding mileage and reduce the carbon footprint associated with my hobby. 

My commitment for 2022 is to try and halve my driven birding mileage. I can't go completely cold turkey at this point as this will mean my birding will drastically reduce as I have to fit my birding round family and work commitments and besides the physical effort of cycling, there is also a much bigger demand on time. Anyway, I'm going to give it a go and hopefully I will get fitter and feel less bad about by birding in the process. 

I have been inspired by the likes of Nick Moran, Adam Firth, Simon Gillings, Birdguides/Birdwatch and others who have blazed this trail and hope others will follow suit. I just need to persuade Yorkshire Wildlife Trust to put a bike rack at Wheldrake Ings! #LocalBigYear #LowCarbonBirding

Good birding in 2022! Jono

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