Thursday, 16 December 2010

Payback time

Violet-crowned Woodnymph: schemes such as the World Land Trust's
will benefit birds and habitats in regions like the Neotropics by helping
to offset emissions, an unwelcome by-product of year-listing.
With Shag and Grey Phalarope added this week, my London year-list now stands at 213 species - the second-highest total ever recorded. That figure includes the Barnacle Goose at Rainham during January's cold spell, a bird regarded as acceptable by many, but I am still missing a few potential additions - take a look at my wants list for details. Four more additions before the New Year would see me set a new London record, so with another wave of cold weather now descending on the UK, it is time for a last roll of the dice - starting tomorrow at Rainham.

But there is another side to year-listing that needs addressing. It is not the most environmentally friendly activity, I freely admit, so in view of the mileage I've covered in and around the capital during the year, I will be making a donation of 50p per species to a wildlife charity/carbon offsetting scheme, which will be more than sufficient to counter greenhouse gas emissions from my driving over the past 12 months. There are a number of such schemes and I need to research the best options, but one likely candidate has to be the World Land Trust's Carbon Balanced scheme; other suggestions are welcome.

Should I be lucky enough to set a new record and reach 217 species, I will double the donation to £1 per species - so there will be a direct benefit to birds from my year-listing efforts. Every tick therefore helps!

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