A year of birds, birdies and lots more

It is the silly season when social media posts are filled with a look-back-at-the-year-in-pictures-and-likes. Being a wee bit number driven, I thought that it might be fun to look at some data and see what my last 365 days have been like.

During the year, I had taken 86 flights – 76 of these were on work (predominantly between Delhi, Mumbai & Bangalore) and 10 were personal (covering Ahmedabad, Chennai, Dehradun and Pune). That is a total of 205 hours on an aircraft (that’s about 8 and a half days) flying 126,000 kms (slightly more than 3 times around the earth or about a third of the distance to the moon). Add to that 13 trips by train of about 90 hours and 4400 km. And top it up with 224 Uber rides and 32 Meru rides and a couple of driving trips to Bharatpur & Kabini that tot upto another 310 hours on the road and what you have is more than 600 hours (or about 25 days) spent travelling. And thats without accounting for the wait times at the airport and railway stations.

All of this travel meant that I was away from home quite a bit during the year – 175 days to be precise, nearly half the year. Of this 125 days were on work and the balance 50 were on personal trips. Which meant that I stayed in a hotel room quite often – 81 nights on work and 37 on personal tips.

It was a great golfing year as well. I managed to pack in 85 full rounds of golf & 40 9-hole rounds before getting to work, averaging nearly 2.5 rounds of golf a week. Given that all my golfing was in my home-base, it meant that I was out golfing nearly 2/3rd of the days that I was in town. How did my game go? Well, there were good days and bad days, but my average round over par was 9.84 (despite 156 penalties that cost me nearly 2-strokes per round). I had 99 birdies and 1 eagle (thats right, 100 holes with a birdie or better!!) during the year, had a best full round of 3-over for the course (twice) and a best 9-hole round of 2-under par, hit the greens-in-regulation 36.6% of the time, hit the fairways 45.47% of the time off the tees, had an average tee-off distance of 227.92 yds (including the par 3’s), drove an average of 262.1 yds using the driver and 223.3 yds using the 3-wood. Not really comparable to the Tour stats, but not bad for a weekend golfer (ok ok, with the amount of golf I have played I probably can’t use that term any longer).

And what was the result of all of these personal trips on bird photography? Not bad I reckon. 357 species of birds seen & photographed. Bulk of it coming from Rajasthan (Bharatpur, Tal Chappar, Ranthambore & Ajmer), Uttarakhand (Dehradun, Sattal, Rishikesh & Chopta) and Gujarat (Little Rann and Greater Rann of Kutch). About 53500 photographs taken that has filled up about 760GB of space. Crossed the 400 species (life-time count) milestone during the June trip to Ranthambore and the 450 milestone during the Greater Rann trip this month. Some great experiences – most of which have been documented in my earlier blog-posts (and I have been fairly regular with that penning down 29 posts this year).

Frankly, I was quite a bit surprised about how much I have managed to pack into a year – tons of work, golf and birding. Not enough time with the family, maybe (and I am sure that the folks at home will definitely have something to say about this post). Now to see what 2017 has in store for me, have a great New Year folks.

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