Wednesday 16 March 2016

The World and Earth Hour . . and THANK YOU to all donors and sponsors

Wednesday 16th March

It is an incredible thing, reading a blog. My blog – Biking Birder 2016 – The Quest for 300 is amazing because it makes me realise how the love of nature can link people from all over our wonderful globe.

The statistics show people from the United Kingdom make up the bulk of viewers but it is wonderful to see that people from many countries look in too.
The list is in order of number of views :-

United States
South Africa
The Netherlands.


Now can I ask everyone whether any of you are Green Birders? I would really love to know your story, of what you enjoy seeing and doing with nature. I would love to hear about the wildlife in your area and of your experiences with it. I would like to know your opinions about climate change, global warming and all Green issues.

If you have any questions to ask then please do. It would be a privilege to answer them.

Please if you can share these then please do so either using the comments section on this page or by sharing on the Biking Birder 2016 – The Quest for 300 facebook page.

To become a facebook friend I warn you, my own personal thoughts, music loves, political opinions, love of cricket and obviously my adoration of this world and nature may be different to yours. I welcome everyone to be my 'friend' though but I thought it only fair to warn you. I am an opinionated and passionate lover of the environment, nature in all of its forms, socialist politics, music, film and cricket.

Maybe you are interested in the facebook page for Green Birders as well.

Please, it would be marvellous to hear from you wherever you are.

Now considering Green Issues, Earth Hour is coming up.

Another request.....

Please take part!

and the very powerful . .

To register then please visit :-

Finally, a massive thank you to everyone who has donated to any of the four charities I am supporting this year. I am extremely grateful to you all.
Also many thanks to everyone who has said that they will sponsor me 1p (or more) for every bird species I see this year. With every bird that I see that is new for the 2016 Green year list then the amount raised for these charities will go up.
If you haven't sponsored me yet and would like to then please message me or email me at


My love to you all,



Hartlepool to Newcastle

Monday 14th March light SE hazy sunshine 11C

I pass a sight you don't see every day, a house covered in drink cans! I am about to go to the door to ask about all of this when a passer-by tells me that it is empty, the owner having died. Looking up the story of the house later I find a youtube video:-
In fact there a few of them and a long film too. Brilliant. I love coming across the unexpected like this and remember the shark in Oxford and the windmills near Salisbury. There must be so many bizarre creations around the UK waiting to be seen.
I find a disused railway cycle path and take it for ten miles or so, enjoying the sunshine and occasionally walking instead of cycling. It is a beautiful warm Spring-like day.

My intention is to visit the WWT reserve at Washington and I reach there around lunchtime. I love this place with its grass-covered visitor's centre, the wildfowl collection in the usual WWT style pens and areas for wild birds with lagoons down by the river. After a cursory glance over the reedbed in the vain hope of seeing the apparently wild ferruginous duck I walk down to the largest of these lagoons and enter the hide just as a male goosander flies in.

There is another couple, John and Kate from Durham in there who are both keen and knowledgable birders. They tell me that their daughter is the golden eagle officer in Dumfrieshire. Now that would be good. There are already a few pairs there and if more could be helped to build up the numbers there may be a chance that the lonely male at Haweswater in the Lake District might at last have a female who appreciates all of his nest building efforts.
As well as the goosander there are a dozen avocets here; possibly the most northerly breeding avocets in Britain. Talking with the reserve manager later she tells me that there is evidence that some of these birds have been seen over wintering at Cadiz in Spain. It is great to meet Gill again and every visit to the WWT Washington has been an absolute pleasure. Thanks Gill.
Sir Peter Scott - the Father of Nature conservation and founder of the WWT (Wildfowl & Wetland Trust)

Leaving here late in the afternoon I negotiate the complex route of roads and cycle paths to take me down to the Millenium Bridge, which swings both ways blinking like an eye when a large ship needs to go upstream, across the Tyne. 

I spend the evening with my daughter. Here I am going to have a couple of days rest, wash my clothes and catch up on things generally. I hadn't bargained on being here until mid-April but the birds have been so good along the way that I may as well enjoy the time with Rebecca before another big push.
So the year list is 188, which is twenty six ahead of this time last year.

38.27 Miles 1696 feet elevation up 1591 feet elevation down

Saltholme and Hartlepool, Two more birds for the year list

Sunday 13th March light S hazy sunshine 11C

The sun is a-shining to welcome the day, hey ho.

Cycling and singing I get into Middlesborough and go past the 'stockings', by Anish Kapoor and photograph the Transporter Bridge through it's rings.
There is a crowd of people at the Transporter Bridge. They are there to watch young person after young person abseil down from the top. It is a sponsored event for a World Challenge event. Fabulous to watch the young people's faces when they reach the floor.

The cycle path takes me towards the A19 and, after a dinosaur park (!) I cross the river via another tremendous bridge.

To a favourite RSPB reserve, Saltholme and soon out of the visitor's centre to go find a long-eared owl for the year list. There's stonechats beside the pathway and the first comma I have seen this year lands nearby.

Reaching a shrub area I search for the owl and,with the help of a birder, Dave from Carlisle, the bird is located as hidden as ever in a elder bush. 

Dave is a bit credulous over the fact I cycle everywhere and thinks I catch trains to get from place to place. I suggest he looks at my list of routes on mapometer!
Dave is happy with his views and a fantastic young couple from Sheffield, Susan and John, arrive to look at the sleeping bird. It is great to meet such a close couple and I must admit to being a bit jealous. Oh to have a . . . come on Prezza, don't go there!
Back at the centre to celebrate the new year tick with a cuppa, I meet two birders, Morris and Dave, who are talking about my nemesis, Chris Mills. We chat about birding, Green Birding and the like. Morris says that he has been many times with Chris on many of Chris' tours. Knowing Chris' personality it must be fabulous to go on one of his tours and to go again and again shows how good they must be.
Dave asks where I am off to next and when I say it is to try to see the shore larks at Hartlepool he asks whether I would like to stay at his house that night. The kindness of strangers once more pops its head up and I accept the kind offer gratefully.

Leaving Saltholme eventually, after checking out the long-staying red head smew, I cycle off towards Hartlepool. Birders are standing rather dangerously beside the road looking for the pendulines and I stop briefly to search for them myself, unsuccessfully. A lovely couple pass a donation over though, saying that they knew what I was doing. Thanks.
Before reaching Seaton Carew another cyclist comes up along me. It's Dave whom I had just met at Saltholme and together we cycle the maze of Hartlepool harbour, stopping to look at an adult Med' gull.

We reach the Jewish Cemetery and the large waste ground that the shore larks have made their winter home. A couple of birders, flora and Graham, are obviously looking at something and we cycle over to them. A dog walker disturbs three birds, snow buntings but the bird I need is in the opposite corner. Shore larks, two of them, go onto the year list, a very good one to get as this may mean I won't have to cycle to Norfolk next winter.

David and I cycle to the World war memorial park on the headland to see a black redstart there.

So the year list is 188, which is twenty six ahead of this time last year.

34.69 Miles 639 feet elevation up 996 feet elevation down

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