Setting Off From Sandwell valley

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Sunday 28th March 2010 Rest Day

Well Earth Hour has gone and news of it on the BBC news this morning was brief. I love those images though of major cities around the world doing their bit; Sydney, Paris, Hong Kong etc.

Now I've just seen an advert about Nestle and their rainforest destruction. I haven't had their coffee or Kit Kats for sometime but this reinforces my feelings over their practises. Have a look at it ...

Great to see the 10,000 birds website [  ] advocating the same. Boycott Nestle and let them know you're doing so. Maybe they'll stop detroying the rainforest.

So after the hospitality of the Craig family at Chew Valley reservoir, I went around the area again searching for the fudge duck but no luck there. Did see the lesser scaup though up by the dam in pouring rain and with a very strong gale.

Then went to Stanton Drew stone circles. I'd never been here before but considering they are only 10 miles or so from Bristol they are amazing. 3 extensive stone circles with large stones associated with them. The local pub also had 3 large stones in their beer garden. Well worth the visit and I'll be doing some research on them when I can. I'd met some ladies from the US of A here but they asked not to mention who they were until April! OK girls I'll hang on.

Into Bristol and what a wonderful city. I'd only been through it before and that was 30 plus years ago on the way to seeing Villa against Bristol City. Found the recently refurbished youth hostel and then went to both the Art gallery and the cathedral.

Next day off towards the Severn Estuary by following the Avon to Avonmouth and then north to see both Severn Bridges. Found a black redstart at the older of the two bridges and then a phone call from Slimbridge and rain starting to fall, persuaded me to get to the WWT centre a day early.

Met by Sally Monroe once I'd arrived and photographed by James Lees, the warden in front of the Peter Scott bust. Massive works going on around the grounds so despite looking like a building site at the moment, a visit next year, once I'm finished with 2010, will be interesting. Down to the Holden Hide but only the pink-footed goose on view.

An evening with the two Daves and Jane, Dave Paynter's wife was extremely enjoyable and the chilli wasn't very hot.

A peregrine was the first bird seen next day and I had the privilige [that seems to be a running aspect of my trip] of going around the reserve with James Lees in the morning at Slimbridge. There weren't many birds to see, just a fall of chiff chaffs apparent but hearing his stories was the real delight. How can someone find 6 American waders in one day at Slimbridge? James did - semi-p', 2 buff breasts and 3 pecs. He also talked about his time on North Ronaldsay and of finding a Syke's warbler, Calandra lark and a veery. I suppose over the last almost 3 months now I've met 3 brilliant birders and James is one of them. A superbly talented birder and a real inspiration to meet.

On the radio later in the morning, BBC radio WM with Louise Pattersen of the RSPB. A nice phone call from Crutchley, a birding friend from Wolverhampton, said that I was OK and that my Brummie accent sounded strong.

Now it's the final day of my 3rd rest period. I've cleaned the bike and got everything ready for the off tomorrow. I intend to visit Rigby Hall Special School on the way to Gloucester and look forward to seeing colleagues and children there. They've just had their Ofsted. I hope it went well.

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