Friday 12th November
Early morning start, birding at Frampton with Tony. What a difference to my previous visit. Now a superb maturing reserve with scrapes, hides and a growing reedbed. Then, four years ago, a pile of manure and a field with pipits, linnets and finches.
I explored the whole reserve for the whole of the day and ended up with 60 species including kingfisher, little egrets, good numbers of ducks and waders, four different sparrowhawks and only my second view of grey partridge this year. Ten of them right outside the fabulous visitor's centre windows.
Loved chatting with the folk of Barnet & Potters Bar RSPB group and other birders including
Saturday 13th November
Cycled from Framton to Fineshade Wood/Top Lodge RSPB reserve via Spalding [!] and Stamford. Arriving there met by a good friend's brother Chris Andrews then spent the late afternoon birding. 26 species seen in this massive forested area, with brambling and marsh tits, goldcrest, nuthatch and woodpeckers.
The evening was spent cycling to Rutland to try for long-eared owl.
Sunday 14th November
Up and at 'em early but no long-eared owls in the roost there. Now I must be honest. First rule of birding - CHECK EVERY BIRD! I hadn't and was embarassed when Matthew Berriman, Tim McKrill and Tim Appleton arrived to say that one of the teal I'd scanned over was in fact an american green-winged teal; my second of the year.
Paid my entry fee of £5 and birded the fabulous Rutland Bird Reserve. Mind you a reported grey phalarope had me cycling to Hambleton to search it out and I was pleased to find it just as another birder, Barry came over to say he couldn't see it and that it would be a new bird for him. Had very close views of this smashing bird.
Saw a large flock of Egyptian geese [bird 242 for the year] and a flock of carefully checked golden plover, around the thousand mark.
Back to the centre and 64 species seen and 3 very large rats under the feeders near the centre. Now I like rats and think that they are fascinating creatures. These three were particularly large and confident.
The evening this time was spent cycling to Brian, Karen and Alex Stone's house near Peterborough and many many thanks for the fabulous meal, bath and bed. A wonderful evening with this very kind family talking birds over the dinner table, watching Attenborough's latest programme and listening to the men play piano and guitar. Brilliant. Thanks again.
Right, now a bit nervous because Brian, who is doing a cycling only year list around Peterborough, is going to cycle with me to the Nene Washes. Now I only hope that this mega fit cyclist wont be too harsh over my cycling speed!
Thanks to Martin for the donation to the RSPB. Much appreciated.
Will be cycling to the Nene washes, Fen Drayton, Ouse Fen and Ouse washes over the next two days. I'm still behind my itinerary because of the weather and the day at Rutland but have a window of free days coming up where I'll be able to hopefully add to the year list and catch up with the reserve list.
All the very best everyone. 47 days to go!