Norfolk Bird Race
Teams will compete to tick off as many birds as they can in this 24-hour race against time
NORFOLK BIRD RACE ROM MIDNIGHT ON April 30, teams taking part in what’s called the Norfolk Bird Race will have 24 hours to list as many bird species as they can in the East Anglia region. Each team member must see or hear the species over the 24-hour period for it to count, so the pressure is on to be alert and seek out the best birding spots.
Held in association with The Norfolk Bird and Wildlife Fair, the event aims to raise money and awareness for conservation groups, and this year’s chosen charity is shorebird conservationists, Wader Quest. Jack Baddams took part in last year’s event in May, and here is his story. “The alarm pierced the darkness at 20 minutes to midnight. I’d managed about half an hour of
sleep on teammate Ian’s sofa, and we were soon up gathering our gear. As the clock struck 11:50, we were in the car and heading along the dark lanes of Norfolk. Even in our bleary-eyed state, we were both acutely aware of the 24 hours stretched out ahead of us. The whole of 9th May would be devoted to trying to see or hear as many birds as possible, and would involve no sleep. We also knew that somewhere out there in the darkness was another team preparing for the same. We were on a bird race. It was the brainchild of the opposing team’s captain, Andrew Whitelee, who wanted to revive the high-profile grudge bird races between Country Life and the Flora and Fauna Preservation Society in the 1980s. It would raise money for a different bird conservation organisation every year – 2015’s was for BTO. Luckily, my teammate Ian lived in Norfolk and meticulously planned an itinerary. As midnight approached we reached our first location – an empty car park surrounded by trees. The clock ticked over to 00: 00; let the games begin. Fifteen minutes later we heard our first bird, the faint note It may look birdless, here, but Titchwell delivered the crucial birds for Jack Baddams’ team You’d be very lucky to get a view like this, but, luckily, ‘heard only’ is enough to count. Watch out for that Barn Owl! A naturalised exotic which can be surprisingly elusive on bird races
TITCHWELL NIGHTINGALE MANDARIN