Sunday 18 February 2018

42 Days to Go to Biking Birder 2018 - Peru. Progress and People, Maidstone RSPB Talk and Donation

Life can be a procession of wonderful days and last Wednesday was definitely one of those.

The day started with messages from Jungle Jimmy McSparron, an adventurer and jungle expert, an ex-British soldier who know lives and works in Peru.
During part of my 300 mile packrafting time I will be joined by the extremely experienced and generally fabulous Jimmy. Indeed his support, advice and suggestion has been key in my feeling very confident in all aspects of the tour. It is wonderful to know that I have his support. Jimmy is one of the World's best Jungle survival experts.

Messages came also from Dr Rob Williams, another jungle expert, brilliant birder, one of the World's best tour guides and all round great guy.

To have Rob's support and Jimmy's is fantastic.

The next piece of great news at the start of the day was that the paperback version of my book, The Biking Birder 2016 - The Quest for 300, was finally all ready to be published on Amazon . . .

The day continued to be enjoyable and wonderful with fascinating people met on the trains taken between my parent's house in Worcestershire and Maidstone, Kent. 

A young lady told of her playing career as a Rugby Union player for Worcester. Enthusiastic for the sport and the club, her career ended when her shoulder had to be replaced.

A happy, chatty Muslim lady on her way to her security job in Bicester, talked about her children and her passion for her faith.

The final person to converse was a cricket journalist on the way to Lords!

Into Maidstone for the first time in my life, well, I had been to a suburb back in 1989 when a Golden-winged Warbler turned up for the first, and still the only time in Europe.

The Birding Clam lads and I went down a few days after the chaos of the first day, as depicted above and after seven very cold hours searching, Ian Crutchley, a major Clam, found the special one flitting in cotoneaster that surrounded a town house door.

After walking down the high street and after having talked with a homeless man and a busker, I found my hotel for the night, Hashtag Hotel. Into a comfy room with hours to spare so a shower and a film, a VDV bought from a charity shop for a local Hospice just moments before. 

A walk to the village hall and the talk to the RSPB local group assembly. One gentleman tells me that we have met before. As soon as he says where I reel off memory after memory.

Sunshine Catherine, the RSPB warden of Loch Gruinart RSPB reserve that year, a crazy lady who insisted vehemently that the moth trap was only for her and a fat lip after a young girl RSPB volunteer found a baby hedgehog. The lip? Well whilst placin the hedgehog int a box for safety, the girl from Nottingham, who's name I can't recall, said, "Gary there's an insect on you lip." I remember brushing the Cleg - Horsefly away and on finding some blood on my finger, replied "watch this! . . . "


More details on the blog page :- 

My fee is discussed and paid but with a twist, it is doubled so that I can make a donation towards Chaskwasi-Manu and Birdlife International. Fabulous to get some money for the two charities I am supporting this year. Thanks Maidstone.

A lovely audience, a lovely evening and a lift back to the hotel . . . perfect, I settle down for a comfy night's sleep.

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