These days we are once again doing much of our peregrinating by bicycle. After what seems a protracted time off the bicycles, we’re glad to be back in the saddle again. The impetus to renew our pedaling vows came from fellow Vancouver Island birder Guy Monty who issued a challenge we couldn’t refuse. Hey, Guy suggested, instead of driving our brains out in search of an ever-bigger bird list, spewing exhaust into our cherished Van Isle airspace, aggravating the world’s carbon-emission difficulties, why don’t we birders leave the car parked where it is and do our birding using only our own muscle power.
The rule is simple: we may not rely on any motorized mode to get where we’re going. Just walk or pedal out the door and see what we can see. Great idea. Highly motivating too. We like birding. We like walking. We like biking. We like a little friendly competition too. Several other Island birders feel the same way and have joined in the exercise. More than 30 years a birder, I find myself rejuvenated. I’m paying closer attention than I have in years to our familiar local birds, thinking about the best tactics for seeing as many species as we can and enjoying riding the bike with fresh focus and enthusiasm. I guess I owe Guy a beer.
Now that the Victoria’s spate of aberrant winter weather is over, the snow has disappeared and conditions are back to normal around here, Jan and I are getting out as often as we can, wearing out shoe leather and bike tires. We started out early the first morning on foot and found 52 species before lunch time. Since then we’ve made several bike trips of up to 60 kilometres and built our 2009 ‘green’ bird list to 95 species. We aim to hit a hundred before January is out and with all the exercise we’re getting we’re starting to remember how wonderfully fit we felt in our long-distance biking expeditions of recent years. We’re falling a bit behind in our vacuuming and floor-waxing chores at home but, what the heck, they can wait.