Thursday, 3 March 2016
Friday 26th February fresh N Sunny 5 to 7C
A day of cycling into Norfolk from Wisbech to get to Hunstanton along the side roads to avoid the very busy main road until Kings Lynn.
A couple of muntjacs are quietly walking beside a railway line.
The first attempt of what will probably be many attempts for the lone male golden pheasant at Wolferton is unsuccessful and a long walk over the adjacent heathland is beautiful but the woodlarks here last year haven't returned yet.
The amount of roadkill today is sad; muntjacs, hares, badger, fox, song thrush, collared dove, red-legged partridge and the most commonly seen squidged, pheasants. Car-nage!
A red-tailed bumblebee is on the floor and I am sure it appreciates it when I pick the sleepy creature up and put it onto a flower.
To the cliff edge at Hunstanton, the tide is at its lowest and huge sandbanks are out in The wash.
So the year list is still at 172, still nineteen ahead of this time last year.
32.80 Miles 993 elevation up 936 elevation down
Thursday 25th February light to fresh N Sunny 5 to 7C
A message on facebook from David Gray tells me that there are five bean geese about five miles from me. I am surprised that I haven't received any text messages from the oracle.
Two miles out of Whittlesey I receive six messages on my mobile in quick succession. Bean geese at Nene washes RSPB reserve, I pedal there as quickly as my short, fat, hairy legs can go.
It is a beautiful clear sunny day and the cold accentuates the sound of whooping from a pair of cranes quite a distance away.
No sign of the bean geese unfortunately, the list grows though as a couple of whooper swan family parties flies by whooping.
In beautiful sunshine and a cool northerly breeze I explore around a gravel pit that has a lot of duck on it and disturb a couple of muntjac. The way they dash off with their tails held vertical is interesting, making them very visible amongst the tall vegetation.
A couple of peregrines buzz around too disturbing large flocks of golden plovers and lapwings.
I leave to go search of a rough-legged buzzard at Thorney. Three hours of searching gives me only a single common buzzard and a very distant barn owl.
So the year list is now at 172, nineteen ahead of this time last year.
37.96 Miles 417 elevation up 429 elevation down
Wednesday 24th February light to fresh N Sunny 5 to 7C
The frost is thick and the air is cold as I cycle along the A10 north. A bird flies over becoming a year tick that I had expected to have on the year list weeks ago, a male yellowhammer. It lands on one of the very few bushes to be seen some distance away. This chalky landscape is dominated by immense cereal fields with few, if any hedges.
Through Royston and on towards St Ives. A green form of transport passes me with a hello and turns further down the road, a speedy horse and cart.
Into St Ives I am just about to enter a shop when a lady comes up to me and inquires as to whether I recognise her voice! I did and the memory of meeting a couple who were waiting for their cycling son to pass a roundabout in Cheshire last April came back. Their son was cycling for a homeless charity in Cambridge called Winter Comfort.
“John,” I asked. I had remembered. We, Janice and I, went for a coffee and a chat. Janice was in St Ives to look after her 90 year old mother whilst Jon was at home in Dorset. I love lucky meetings like this and an hour passed before we said goodbye.
Trying to get out of St Ives I took a wrong turn and ended up on a large maze of a housing estate. On asking a passerby for directions I was told by her, Chris, that she looked after orphaned hedgehogs. She took me to her house, introduced me to her husband, Errol and shown the cages where the sleeping hedgehogs lay.
They had helped hedgehogs for over twenty years, returning them to the wild once fit and well. They supported the nearby Hinching Country Park. Kindly they added to the menagerie on my bike by giving me a cuddly hedgehog, Wilfred Prickles!
So the year list is now at 170, eighteen ahead of this time last year.
53.51 Miles 1442 elevation up 1686 elevation down