How much of The Biking Birder year is about meeting the most incredible people?
Since leaving Doug and Sue at the Sir Peter Scott lighthouse there has been a wonderful procession of wonderful and inspiring people. Maybe too many to remember them all; here is some details of the ones over the last three days:-
- Charlie, an ex-soldier crippled whilst on exercises and invalided out of the army. Became homeless but now has an ice cream van and organises beach cleaning!
- Steve and Lyndsey, met in the Island Mere hide and they deserve a full posting just for them! Lyndsey has started a butterfly education programme where she goes into schools with characters she has produced herself, Bob and Bobette, with various cuddly caterpillars. Have a look at her website . . . http://www.butterfliesofbritain.co.uk/home/about-me/
- Trevor, a black currant and apple farmer who loves his swallows and house martins. He encourages them to nest in his barns by placing a lot of platforms in the roof space.
- Four fantastic young birders; Dean, Dan, Jake and Jess. Actually I didn't see them! We were listening in the dark for savi's warbler. The group of Next generation Birders had come down from Spurn and then headed off to Norwich. Very keen birders, the next generation (of) birders is in safe hands.
- A birder from the Midlands, Steve told me the tale of another well known Midland birder who saw what he thought was a white stork and put the news out on Rare Bird Alert. His initial view wasn't the best and on looking again he found ut that it was plastic. No, not an escape with leg rings but literally plastic! Oops, a reputation ruined and a story that will define him forever.
- Ian told me that despite an appearance that told of an age around fifty that he was only thirteen. Thirteen years ago Ian had had a brain abscess and had a series of operations that meant he had to relearn everything he had ever known. Six holes through his skull and a new life, a great sense of humour and a vivacity that is understandable with the chance he has been given to live.
- The geography and cricket master at Harrow school, Simon and myself made an incongruous trio of birders with Ian but we had a great half hour or so as thunder and lightning flashed outside the east hide at Minsmere.
- Zack and Dad, Mark; Zack is the winner of the Junior category of the Wildlife Blogger of the Year competition. A superb young man, it was great to see how confident he was when being interviewed for Springwatch with a TV camera almost in his face. Zack has just attended the BTO Boot Camp, another brilliant young person to watch.
- A fantastic young fourteen year old photographer and keen to learn birder, Harry who sat with me for ten hours plus to try and see the purple heron at Minsmere. Harry is a superb photographer and his enthusiasm is inspiring. With his Dad, Dave and his Dad's friend, Dave, the three made the long, long wait fly by.
- The fabulous Gibbin and Martin families; Mums and Dads with entourage of 'out loving nature' children.
So many wonderful, interesting and diverse people. Travel is the best.