Thursday, 24 October 2013

Guest blogger: Jonny Rankin

Firstly with thanks to NGB for letting a last generation birder offer up a post to the Next Generation! The ethos behind NGB is solid and any celebration of nature is good news, especially when done by the young. As such I am delighted to be writing this.

A video I did for the RSPB last year offers a handy introduction to myself…

Just like Jonny from The RSPB on Vimeo.

Now we are acquainted I’ll continue.
Whilst I do go birding – in the traditional sense – it is also engrained. I put the bins round my neck when I walk the dog and mentally list on car and train journeys. If they haven’t already these obsessive behaviours will befall NGBs too – I am sure!
To me birding is as important and habitual as listening to metal and riding my bike.
Birding, especially over the last five years has been all about adventure. It has taken me 4170m up in the eastern Himalaya and high into the Arctic Circle well past 70° north. Closer to home it has led me to make truly great friends, meet my MP, write magazine articles and do guest blogs! All of which I enjoy very much… 
Another aspect that has developed more recently is fundraising, specifically for the RSPB and the multi partner Operation Turtle Dove. Through a Big Bird Race in 2012 (read about that on the Birdwatching Mag Site) and running my first half marathon earlier this year to date £600 has been raised. Along the way I also picked up a Turtle Dove tattoo!

A permanent Turtle Dove; a dream for future British summers
For next year three friends and myself are planning our most ambitious fundraiser to date. A 300 mile walk from Lakenheath RSPB to SaltholmeRSPB. We have called this journey Dove Step and hope to complete the distance in just 13 days, this requires covering up to 25 miles a day whilst also carrying our tents and other equipment.
I did a trial walk this weekend gone, covering the full daily total of 25 miles (40km) sadly it rained heavily and I had to complete it with very wet boots, this resulted in some pretty spectacular blisters which were complemented by some particularly unpleasant chaffing elsewhere! It was the furthest I have ever walked in one go. To be honest it is massively intimidating thinking about doing it thirteen consecutive days in a row!
So, we feel it is a worthy challenge and a good way to demonstrate our dedication to helping Operation Turtle Dove. Turtle Doves are such a good flagship species to campaign for; they are cross-continent migrants, declining farmland birds, targeted by hunters overseas and already in the public conscious through literature, songs and even art.
Do follow our progress on the Dove Step blog as we prepare and ultimately undertake the walk itself.

I will also be checking back on the NGB blog and Twitter feed and look forward to reading your adventures through birding, ringing, photography, art, fundraising, whatever path your birding takes you down!

-Jonny Rankin 
Jonny is a birder, metalhead and rider. Sometimes all at the same time! The first two activities have been with Jonny since birth and he has ridden since he was 14. He came up trumps this June by finding the Suffolk Pacific Swift, enjoyed by many.

No comments:

Post a Comment