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Monday, 29 June 2015

The Lake District - Half way and only 6 months to go.

Well today is the half way point. Over 5,000 miles cycled, 237 birds on the year list, 158 RSPB and 8 WWT reserves visited.
The next six months will see me cycling up the west coast of Scotland, going into central Scotland twice to visit Loch Lomond and Abernethy Forest/ Cairngorms, before heading to the north coast via Loch Shiel. Durness to John O'Groats and then onto Orkney in August. September and October on Shetland and Fair Isle and then the long cycle down to Norfolk before finishing in my native West Midlands.
It's been a fabulous six months and many thanks to all of the wonderful people I have met.
We live in such a beautiful, diverse country and to explore it so completely is a pleasure and a privilege.
So a few more miles to go, 63 birds to get, more people to meet and more places to see. Who knows, I may even find Ellie!
Thanks everyone. Xx

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Sunday morning breakfast reflections. June 14th 2015

Sunday 14th of June              Nr York.

Sitting at breakfast with steady drizzle falling, listening to Led Zeppelin's Whole Lotta Love and wishing I could leap around but knowing that the other breakfast diners might be a little disturbed. A full English of superb quality goes down washed with 3 cups of the best coffee.

Frank Zappa's super fast Cruisin' for burgers next with that delicious guitar solo. So a French pastry goes in.

Something more sedate for the next course, I've got to look after my figure after all; Nick Drake or Pink Floyd to go with a bowl of summer fruits and yogurt.

So my day begins and the thought of the cycling over the Pennines towards Skipton takes over . . gradually.

A bath first and foot pampering with creams and talcs.

Reflections in my sonic cave, away from the general chatter overlaid by barely heard Beach Boys numbers. I prefer to listen directly and not be irritated by such great songs being used as musical wallpaper.

A PDF arrived yesterday from Jim Royer over in the USA. He's collated a list of Green Birders with reference to Big Green Years, World records and Big Sits, Big Green Days etc.

Got me thinking!

My American dream was taken away by Dorian Anderson last year. His score of over 600 birds seen during his spectacular Big Green Year cannot be beaten by me so what to go for once the 300 is had this side of the Pond?

World record..........? How safe would cycling from Lima to Puerto Maldonado in Peru be. More importantly I think naively, how many birds would I see? What birds? Los Pantanos to Tambopata and around to Manu.

Right, the route's decided upon...... dream on. What a way to get back to Chontachaka and Chaskawasi.

Meanwhile . . .

I could have been a sailor, I could have been a cook . . . . . .

Can't keep my mind from the circling skies, tongue-tied and twisted just an earthbound misfit I.

Now please have a look at my Facebook page for up to date information. -

Saturday, 13 June 2015

It's been a long time and so much has happened..... June 13th

As I said last time I was this way, as the daylight hours have extended to midsummer the chances of updating this blog have reduced. SORRY!

So what's happened in the last few weeks? Lots of new birds with great success getting the possible East Anglian birds on the Green Year list. In fact the only possible bird that I missed was golden oriole. Otherwise all from nightingale to honey buzzard were seen.
Rarities included the little bittern at Lakenheath, white-rumped sandpiper at Frampton and a bee-eater passing during a prolonged seawatch at Spurn Point. 3 different red-necked phalaropes can't be bad and a glaucous gull at Bower marshes RSPB reserve on a return trip to south Essex when trying to see the black-winged stilts was unexpected.

There was also an appearance on the BBC's Springwatch. In the morning I was on Springwatch Extra with Brett Westward. In the evening there was the pleasure of being on Springwatch Unsprung. Chris Packham hosted and the whole experience was wonderful.

I am now just north of York on the way over to Lancashire where the big trek north really begins. The RSPB Ribble Discovery Centre on Wednesday 17th of June will be followed by Leighton Moss the following day. I'll be meeting RSPB staff at Eric Morecambe's statue that day and we'll be cycling together to the reserve along the route that I wrote about in the May edition of Birdwatch magazine.

Through The Lake District and into Scotland after a few days for bike repairs and servicing will have me getting to Orkney by early August. Then the following weeks will decide whether I beat the magic 300 total I wish for. Orkney and Shetland may give me the rare birds I need to reach that target.

Anyway with my total as of today on 235, 32 ahead of where I was back in 2010, I feel positive that I have a good chance of beating the 300.

Watch this space!