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Yesterday came up trumps when I set off for the local Asda (other supermarkets are available). Last month, I discovered a hitherto unknown riverside walk when out looking for Waxwing. So I thought I’d best take my bins and actually record something not seen on my feeders. It doesn’t look like much and in fact it isn’t, but it makes a change from the direct route along the main road.

As I approached the weir above Armley Mills a fat bird with whirring wings flew from the bank below. Dipper. Wow, not on my predicted list. It landed briefly and then flew bank into the bank out of view. Length of view, maybe 5 seconds. Amount of satisfaction, huge. Looking at BirdTrack it turns out to be a first record for the tetrad. Not surprising really as it is only a mile or so from the centre of Leeds and is probably the last bit of suitable habitat on the Aire. Well chuffed.

Continuing round the bend in the river I came across 6 Goosander including 3 very pink males fishing away. Nice.

I finally got out for a decent walk this afternoon. In the spirit of Foot It I decided to check out some areas I’ve overlooked in the past. So, I scratted about in some crappy, scrubby woodland, walked along the canal and on the return wandered through some manky grassland and more scrubby woodland and crappy grassland. Much of the latter is a local nature reserve but I’ll take some ‘wilderness’ in urban Leeds. Birds of the day; Nuthatch, predicted but not easy and Bullfinch, expected but always nice. The highlight goes to a flock of 9 Stock Dove that constitute a first for tetrad SE23S.

I’m going to have to walk further out to get some of my 60 predicted species.

Foot It, birding by foot

Hi, I’m northernloon and I live close to the centre of Leeds. Much of the area is densely built-up but there are two reasonably sized parks within easy walking distance. However, the saving grace is that I live in the Aire valley; the river and the Leeds-Liverpool Canal are only half a mile away.

I’ve drawn a massively optimistic radius on the map mainly because of the easy walking along the towpath. This should allow me get to a couple of reasonable woodland areas. My focus will be on the Aire valley corridor heading northwest. Depending on the weather I may venture north along the Meanwood valley trail. Apart from this quadrant I don’t expect to visit anywhere to the east or south.

As for my expected total I have to say it is very much a guess. It comes to the suspiciously round number of 60 species. And having just reviewed it, it looks rather unlikely. 50 species is probably much more realistic but then it wouldn’t be a challenge would it?

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