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Saturday, 28 February 2015

If you go to the worng lake . . . Ring-Necked Drake Bird Number 155


Saturday 28h February

Have you seen a ring-necked duck this year? I have. Bird number 155 on the year list but what a time finding it. Good gen is what's required but it's not what I had. My fault, a friend had sent details of the bird being on the SW corner adjacent to a footpath at a lake. My fault was in not knowing the name of the lake,
The previous day I had cycled from Braunton to Bampton after visiting the peaceful RSPB reserve at Chapel Wood.
After over 40 miles of cycling a heavy bike along the roads of North Devon, made heavier by my purchase of a tent, I reached a great B and B in the village. Bampton I thought was close to the lake where I thought the bird would be. You know what thought did.
After breakfast at The Quarryman's and after talking with incredible owner, Martina, I cycled north, after seeing dipper and grey wagtail by a stream through the village,
 and pushed the bike up a couple of incredibly steep hills until reaching a car park and entrance to Wimbleball Lake. Down to the dam with my boots to the road to assist the brakes on the steep path down. There I noticed there were no ducks in the SW corner. One little grebe that was all.

Undeterred I took the path around the large lake thinking that it may be at the north end. On seeing that this lake held no ducks at all, 4 canada geese and the same number of cormorants didn't bode well, I realised that I may have made a mistake by using the maps on the mobile to decide my destination. Looking at the screen again, I saw that there was a lake to the east.
After a slice of fruit cake and a hot chocolate at a lakeside cafe, always find a silver lining, I then took roads and back lanes for a few miles to get to a dirt track and boggy public footpath to get to the other lake, Clatsworthy Lake.
Ducks! The first one a splendid, smart-looking ring-necked drake all the way from America. UTB!

So what if it was raining, here was the bird and things were good. In a beautiful wooded valley the lake looked magnificent, as did the duck and here I was with not another soul to be seen.

The big push when back on Brown Lane, I stopped to have lunch and take in the prospect whilst sheltering from the rain under a large tree.
The rest of the afternoon was taken by cycling along the now in Somerset roads. Changing my itineraryand route because of the error over the location of the bird, I made my way to Taunton where a lovely family of 5, Tammy and Paul with 3 delightful young children, told me of the location of a number of B and B's. The rain had made me think that a B and B would be better than the tent. By now it was dark and the rain had returned after a brief respite. On not finding the B and B;s road I saw a Police station and went on to ask for advice over where some may be. Thanks PC Julie and PC Michelle for your help. Lovely chatty ladies!

Today's route and elevations are on here -
http://gb.mapometer.com/cycling/route_4028420.html

Tomorrow it's off to a RSPB reserves Swell Wood, West Sedgemoor and Greylake.
 
Now please have a look at the photographs of the 28th's photos on my facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/bikingbirder2015
 
Also if you could please make a small donation to any of the charities that I am supporting then please click on the links to the right. I know I put this onto the end of every blog posting but I really get a boost from every donation. The RSPB, The WWT, Asthma UK and Chaskawasi-Manu. I would be so grateful if you could make a donation however small. Thanks.

All the very best everyone. Love to you all xx

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