British Animal Challenge: February update

You may have noticed my blog hasn’t been flooded with reports of new animal sightings since I announced my British Animal Challenge. I haven’t forgotten the challenge. I’ve been busy researching and planning how to do it.

I’ve now gone through the whole list, working out where the best place to see each species is. It looks like my challenge will involve travelling to many far flung parts of the UK, from the Channel Islands for shrews and lizards to the Shetland Isles for whales.

Now, I work full time, and have a limited budget, so, as I suspected at the outset, this Challenge is not going to be completed in a year. I think, hopefully, it will take me about 3 years, and quite a few holidays.

One of the things that has pleasantly surprised me is how many species I should be able to see near where I live, in Surrey. It turns out, Surrey is a good place to see most bats, reptiles and amphibians, so I should be able to tick quite a few species off my list without having to travel too far.

My preliminary research has also helped me refine my list a bit. Some of the species I had originally included were non-native species that are now virtually extinct in the wild in Britain (such as the red-necked wallaby). Others were species of whale that could only be observed by boats many miles from even the remotest British islands (such as the Blue whale), which in my view means it doesn’t really count as a British animal. So, with my revised list, my current target is 103 species, of which I’ve seen 29 so far.

I’ve got a few days of observation planned for March. Top of my list are water voles and reptiles, and maybe some early amphibians. I’ll let you know how I get on.

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