Setting Off From Sandwell valley

Friday, 17 December 2010

Rye Meads and Fowlmere RSPB Reserves

In another lovely, warm library at Potton, near to sandy, Beds, with two lovely ladies : Lesley and Debbie.

15th December 2010

Early morning breakfast at Chesunt Youth Hostel; a lovely hostel with large log cabins and the 'all you can eat' breakfast appreciated. early morning cycle along the Lee Valley to the well signposted RSPB reserve. Well, well signposted once you realise that the white duck denotes the reserve.

Met by many super staff in the superb visitor's centre and then out to 'bird'. Now Rye Meads was a big surpirse; a great reserve with super hides overlooking a wide variety of habitats. I like 'urban' reserves and this is one of the best with excellent hides and lots of birds. Water rail from three different hides, ducks a-plenty and a nice flock of lesser redpolls all seen. An afternoon walk with a wonderful volunteer and a brilliant view of a close, walking bittern.

Time to go and slept in a hide on the other side of Rye Meads. Very comfortable and warm.

16th December 2010

Cycled to Fowlmere via Ware. Not without problems though as a puncture whilst cycling along the A10. No pump becuase of another theft and lovely people at a nearby garage helped out.

THANKS Gill - HC Motoros, High Cross, north of Ware!

Lovely ride to Fowlmere actually despite persistent rain. Enjoyed it without a thought for how far places were.

Arrived at the reserve office and met Doug, the site manager. A brilliant man, helpful and friendly; he invited me to join a great group of people, nest monitors, for a meal that evening. So thanks  - Alli, Louise, Alan, Carl and Vince for a smashing evening and for allowing me to gate crash and pontificate.

17th December 2010

What happened to England. Everything going well in the Ashes 2nd Test and then - crash. Come on lads!

Early morning attempt at seeing long-eared owls but the snow and well below freezing temperatures didn't help. Birds not on view so back to the reserve for a couple of hours walking around, guided by Doug. Water rails, cettis warblers and winter thrushes on a very frozen reserve; beautiful with snow a hoar frost.

Right time up at the library. Special day tomorrow. The arrival at Sandy, the HQ for the RSPB and the final RSPB reserve to visit. Meet various people at Potton for a cycling cavalcade to Sandy at 10.00am tomorrow - Saturday the 18th of December and that will be that. Every RSPB reserve visited in one year by cycling only.

Don't know how I'll feel when it's all over. I'll find out tomorrow.

Thanks to everyone who's donated to the charities. Really appreciate your kindness.

Love to everyone,


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