Friday, February 04, 2011

Biking & birding to work

I cycle a minimum of 85 miles per week to work from zone 4 in North London to zone 1 in the centre. Last July I gave up on 'the tube' (London Underground) due to the poor service, endless strikes, though mainly due to the fact it is 'hoachin'... and I miss cycling. Though it doesn't compare to cycling in the Scottish countryside (countryside=safe, city=dangerous), its does keep me fit, I save money, and I see more birds! Arriving at work, I feel energised too (the tube saps your enthusiasm and drains your energy). Amazingly I can cycle door-to-door in about 33 minutes cycling time compared with 45 mins on the tube (which included a one mile walk to the station). So not only is the humble push bike faster than the car through urban London, it can also leave the tube behind! In late January 2011 I decided to keep a list of all species seen for the year. My usual route takes me through busy suburban and urban streets which provide less interest so diversions over the course of the year through parks and past reservoirs should yield interesting finds. Highlights so far have included 100 Waxwings in Finchley Road and a pair of Firecrests and a Water Rail in Regent's Park.

Regular visitors to this blog will know I like birds with long legs and long wings and I now see even more herons if I pass by the heronry in Regent's Park. The breeding season is getting under way with lots of activity there now and the birds are particularly vocal at dusk. Last week weekend I made some sound recordings of Grey Herons on the nest as they settled in for the night.


Anonymous said...

Hi Fraser, back in the 90s I lived in London for a while and I agree wholeheartedly about the horrors of the Tube. Too crowded, too hot and sometimes dangerous (I once had the unnerving experience of seeing one bloke pull a knife on another bloke on the Bakerloo Line at Waterloo Station).

I never had the guts to ride a bike through London though, I am not safe on two wheels! Good luck to you doing that and stay safe.

Btw, 'hoachin' = heaving?

Fraser Simpson said...

Thanks Fay.
Yes, hoachin = heaving :-)