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Sunday 18 December 2011: A birding challenge with a difference

This year one of the people I've had the privilege to meet through blip (actually in person!) is Longshanks, he and his constant blip companion Red Coated Birder set out on a big year. Which is not dissimilar to the film of the same name. In essence they set out to see as many British birds as they could, keep an eye on their blip pages, I'm sure they have a few left in them before new years eve. More locally, my bird group also have the same mentality, the local patch totals are around about 173 for the year - I didn't take part but I think that Phil did, and I think he must be getting close to that total.

Anyway, the point is that birders keep a record of the birds that they've seen. I saw this little chap in a charity shop in Leeds yesterday. It is Raphus cucullatus an extinct flightless bird endemic to the island of Mauritius, related to pigeons, early explorers and sailors discovered they were good to eat! As I looked at it through the window the neurons at back of my brain fired and I had the desire to see one. Obviously not a live one, but the remains of one must be achievable. And so I decided that next year I would try and see as many extinct birds as possible. If you can suggest any, or know where they are - let me know ;-)

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