A little near death scenario to keep me thinking.

It is now Wednesday the 4th of November. I am in a hotel room just south of Aberdeen being a little nesh as it is raining outside. Last Saturday I experienced the worst moment I have ever had whilst cycling. The police are involved but the chances of a prosecution are extremely slim. I can't put any of this onto facebook as my dear Mum is watching my every step/pedal. So here's my book text for the day. Saturday 31st October Fresh SE AM to light S PM Very dark, low cloud and rain AM, very sunny & warm (14C) PM Stunning sunset. The ferry is rocking due to the swell and waves as I awake on the floor of the cinema, my usual sleeping location on the Aberdeen to Northern Isles ferry. We dock at 7 and by 7:15 I am cycling through the empty Aberdeen streets in the heavy rain. My progress is good and before 9 I reach Newborough and spend some time birding the Ythan estuary. A wader flock, mostly dunlin, reels around like a starling murmuration before landing on t

Goodbye Fair Isle.

It is time to leave Fair Isle. Overall I have been on this magnificent island for five weeks, with a break to go to all of the RSPB nature reserves on Shetland in the middle. Highlight birds :- arctic warbler 2 citrine wagtails pallid harrier 109 yellow-browed warblers 4 common rosefinches 3 Richard's pipits red-flanked bluetail lanceolated warbler (my only lifer) radde's warbler ortolan bunting pallas' grasshopper warbler Siberian rubythroat Blyth's reed warbler 2 red-breasted flycatchers Lapland bunting 3 long-eared owls over 20 short-eared owls many jack snipe masses of redwings bramblings  Greeted by very curious fulmars and bombarding bonxies (great skuas). There were 300 of them when I arrived in September; now down to ten. Then it is also goodbye to the Bird Observatory staff, the birders and the Fair isle residents. It has been wonderful to see Neil Thompson again, especially when he has been playing one of his guitars. Many, m

It's Just a Perfect Day . . Cairngorms. 9th August

Sunday 9th August fresh SW in the valley, very strong and cold gale on the mountain tops cloud just touching tops. A few showers and a little sunshine. Scottish mixture...Four seasons. Awoken by screams of “what's leaking?” in the early hours, Simon the occupant of the bed next to mine in the youth hostel dormitory, discovers that the person in the bunk above him has just relieved himself down onto his pillow! It shines out like a shaft of gold when all is dark. Simon, in disgust, an after using invective to tell the midnight pisser what he thinks of him, goes and sleeps in his car. I fall back into my exhausted stupor glad it wasn't me below. Breakfast is superb and Simon comes into the dining area a little the worse for wear but drier. Outside clouds are scudding the tops of the Cairngorms where I will attempt to find ptarmigan today. Setting off, I cycle around a mile and then push. Real lycra-clad cyclists pass on their painful lactic ac

The Outer Hebrides. Stuck there due to ferry break down.

Hiya! I'm stuck on North Uist. The ferry from Lochmaddy to Uig has broken down and they are not sure when it will be fixed. So, an afternoon in a museum and café (hence the Wifi) and a night in a manger. Going to be comfortable. It's either that or the tent as all accommodation is taken by the stranded passengers. If the ferry isn't fixed by the morning then it will mean a cycle to Tarbet on harris to get across to Skye. This is all to cycle from uig to the mainland to see a ... very small island that is an RSPB reserve. then it's about face and cycle back to Uig to get to Harris. Anyway, the last few days have seen me go from Oban to the Outer hebs via Lochboisdale. The ferry two days ago had lots of great skuas over the sea but I missed the dolphins next to the boat as I was playing cards with a fabulous family from Doncaster. I did manage to see a minke whale though! My first one. Yesterday a short-eared owl flew past me as I cycled just before Benbecula and

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 morning breakfast reflections. June 14th 2015

Sunday 14 th 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 wallp

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 experienc