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A Birding Marathon? (1 Viewer)

Lerxst

Well-known member
I am curious if anyone has done this before. I did some internet searching and couldn't find an example that involved serious birding.

It is this idea: Walk (at least) the distance of a marathon, 26.2 miles, in the course of a day, while birding the entire time. Potty and lunch breaks excepted, of course.

I am going to give it a try tomorrow, as it looks to be a lovely day here in the upper midwest. It is not the best time of year for birds, though. However this silly idea only occured to me back in July - otherwise I would have done it in May when the spring migration peaked. So I'm not sure if I will get even 30 or 40 species tomorrow, but in May I'd expect maybe 80-90 around my immediate area. 100 species with luck.

More details: https://legallyblindbirding.net/2020/09/03/marathon-birding/

I'll tell you how it went when I am recuperating tomorrow night or Saturday.
 

Had.enough

Registered User
Supporter
Good luck with it. I've just drafted one from where I live to the coast, where I would need to spend a few hours recovering before a lift home!
But it would go thru a whole range of woodland and heathland, plus some lakes / wader habitat, ending with a big reserve on the coast.
80 species is probably reasonable. 100 in a day is possible, but I can't factor in the quality farmland/downs north of me.

Who knows if I will ever manage this. 10 miles is more my daily limit when birding.

Ignore the flags;)
 

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Lerxst

Well-known member
Good luck with it. I've just drafted one from where I live to the coast, where I would need to spend a few hours recovering before a lift home!
But it would go thru a whole range of woodland and heathland, plus some lakes / wader habitat, ending with a big reserve on the coast.
80 species is probably reasonable. 100 in a day is possible, but I can't factor in the quality farmland/downs north of me.

Who knows if I will ever manage this. 10 miles is more my daily limit when birding.

Ignore the flags;)

In July I did about 2/3 of a marathon and it was a hard day indeed - but it was raining and my feet were soping wet before I had even gone a mile. Hoping that with good weather it will not be as bad.
 

Had.enough

Registered User
Supporter
Are you doing any fund raising along with it? Not suggesting you do it in fancy dress, but could be an idea
 

Mysticete

Well-known member
United States
Sounds sort of like the principle idea behind green days and green years, although those often heavily involve bicycling.
 

dantheman

Bah humbug
I've pretty sure I've covered more than 27 miles in a days birding on foot a couple of times at least - not sure that I documented as such though. Good luck! (with the birding and the feet).
 

Had.enough

Registered User
Supporter
10 miles recently looking for Gladiolus in the New Forest. The fact that they didn't read the rule book about their preferred habitat didn't help.
The GPS was very useful in working out where I had already checked, but the track looked hilarious by the time I finished.
Not many birds, but eventually found the flowers, more by being sent an approximate grid ref, and noticing a trampled down path into the bracken.

My back is the first to go. Have never got to blistered feet stage.
 

Lerxst

Well-known member
Well I walked the planned route, with a few tweaks. Weather was nice but the migrants were AWOL.

Final stats:
Total time: 12 hours and 30 minutes.
Total steps: 64,659
Total eBird checklists: 22
Total species: 46

I don't see my self doing that again. It was pretty ugly for the last hour or so, which is when the pain started getting hard to ignore.

Add this, like so many other items, to that list called "I Wish I Would Have Thought to Have Done This When I Was Young."
 

Had.enough

Registered User
Supporter
Well, it was a neat idea, and worth trying.
I think you've just dampened any enthusiasm I had for it too!
 

dantheman

Bah humbug
I've tended to do a long walk on Jan 1st in recent years - that's a good time to do it - birds are either there or not and you don't have to compromise waiting by bushes/trees with hidden birds in lots of vegetation. A lot cooler and more pleasant than a hot sticky day with miles to go (and you don't have to carry as much liquid).

As for pain, depends on which ones (!) and whether on roads much or not but obviously building up to it can help ...
 

YuShan

Well-known member
Don't rush it! Go for long multi-day hikes. It's more enjoyable and you'll see more birds. With added bonus nocturnal birds around your tent.
 

pbjosh

missing the neotropics
Switzerland
Very nice idea! I've done some mega days in the mountains before, and probably ticked past marathon distance a small handful of times, but I agree it's painful at the end, at least for me and my knees and feet!

Birding, I don't think I've ever covered more than 15 miles in a day or so. No good reason why.

I'm shortly moving back to Europe and have a really strong desire to do more bike birding. Getting around Buenos Aires on bike is fast, safe, and very enjoyable. Flat city, one way streets, lots of bike lanes. Leaving the city on bike is a disaster - narrow provincial highways with high speed traffic and little/no shoulder. I'll be based in Zürich so should make for some lovely possibilities, I'm already imagining something like a loop east through Austria, down into Slovenia, W across N Italy, and then back up into Switzerland.
 

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