Friday 22nd April fresh N Cloudy with occasional light rain. Cool 8C with cold wind.
in other words . . .
It is amazing to see on the blog where people who are following me come from. It is possible to see the countries and in the last week the above morning greeting represents the top ten countries. Thanks to you all and I hope that my pages may inspire you all to try Green Birding and do your bit to limit Climate Change/Global Warming. On that subject, it is so wonderful to see the commitment Leonardo di Caprio has to this as his latest donations show.
The Oracle's text from the previous evening states that there are two black terns at Alton Water south of Ipswich; a bird that I have never managed to see whilst cycling so of major importance to add to the list. After fixing th back brake in the shelter of the South hide and after a chat with an early rising RSPB staff member, I set off south. Leaving Minsmere is strange after the last four days here. Each day has been different and I feel I know the reserve a lot better having explored every pathway. This could easily become my favourite RSPB reserve, so diverse and with such incredible biodiversity.
By 9:00am I am at Blaxhall youth hostel and having no word from Phil about the terns, I book in. Coffee and washing up, my phone receives two texts and I miss a phone call. The terns are still there! With apologies to Amy, the hostel manager, and reimbursed the overnight cost, I set off once more as the weather deteriorates and spitting rain falls.
Through Woodbridge and Ipswich, where I make the mistake of following the convoluted Route 1 Sustrans cycle path instead of the straight main road, I get, eventually, to Lemon's Hill bridge. A gentleman in a car calls my name. Chris Baines, a facebook friend who I had last seen whilst watching a bluethroat near The Hook on Blakeney Point four years ago, Calls me over and together we watch distant terns. A year tick, seven or more arctic terns are over the water and then I actually make a little leap into the air.
A black tern comes into view. Brilliant. It is cold and raining slightly so photographs are appalling but both birds are on the list, 219. Black tern becomes the latest '16' bird, one that I didn't see last year. I need sixteen of these over and above the 289 I did see. Now maybe it is the cricket fan in me but I break the 16 down into 4 per quarter, that is four '16' birds per three month period. January to March gave me four : dusky warbler, Hudsonian whimbrel, glaucous gull and greater yellowlegs. April has given me two already, savi's warbler and now black tern. Things are looking good. Little targets to keep the spirits up and keep the legs pedalling.
Another pleasing thing from the bridge is the number of hirundines hunting flies low over the water. They are mostly swallows with some sand martins and the occasional house martin.
Saying goodbye to Chris, as I am now starting to shiver, I head off along the circumnavigating the lake cycle path. A helicopter comes low and lands in a garden backing onto the path.
Three miles later I am warming up with a large hot chocolate and enjoying the company of Gina and Andrew, the owners of the cafe at the south end of the lake. Mentioning the helicopter I am told it belongs to a city banker.
The only other customer in the cafe is Doreen, a local originally from Anfield, Liverpool. The four of us chat awhile before all too soon it is closing time and I carry on to search the lake for other birds. Three little gulls were reported this morning but they have moved on.
The Green Year list now stands at 219, still 30 birds ahead of this time last year.
50.69 miles 1473 feet elevation up 1443 elevation down