Sunday 25 March 2018

Alright . . . Let's Go!

Today's the day I set off for Peru for the attempt on the Green Birding Big Year record. It hasn't been the best of preparation periods but at least mentally I know I up to the challenge as the thought of the coming months thrills me to the core.

The route is done but as always amendable., likewise with the daily itinerary and distance targets. Both give the adventure, the Biking Birder IV adventure, a framework.

For each area cycled through and each area packrafted through, birdlists and place names for birding have been collated and birds hopefully learnt.

One wonderful thing during the last two weeks has been the way donations for Birdlife International have started to come in. Donations are a massive boost and thanks to those who have given so far. Specia mention here to Gary Kames and Lise Hanson who gave donations to Birdlife International last night and then sent messages on the reason why. Thanks.

Another wonderful thing have been the messages coming in wishing me well. Thank you everyone.

A Facebook posting from a very close friend, Jason :

I’d just like to give a big shout out to Gary Brian Prescott because tomorrow he goes on an epic journey to Peru to try a break the World Green Birding record ! His goal is to see as many bird species he possibly can without using transport / petroleum etc.
It’s going to be very tough because I’ve been
to Peru and the terrain is very challenging to say the least , with massive mountains with high altitude and very hot rain forest and arid desert!
Well good luck mate! But most of all stay safe and come back to tell the tail! 😎👍
Daft old bugger !!

One email received today, well had me laughing, gave me a few tears and  . .  . read on.

Hi Gary

Just wanted to get in touch to tell you I loved your book. I read it from page to page in three sittings! Very inspirational. I had no idea that me and I my husband  would be mentioned in it!!! A very proud moment when I came across our names!!

We met you at Filey Brig, you told me what the Surf Scoter was. I had been watching it, without my binoculars and thought it looked a bit different but didn't really know what I was looking at. The next day we went back to the Brig, with my binoculars and camera and were delighted to find you there again, at the bottom on the cliffs, the tide out, keeping the two seals company.

I got better looks at the Scoter this time and we passed the time with you, I could have talked to you for hours, it was all over too quickly. I learnt more talking to you over the 40 minutes or so we were chatting, than reading my vast collection of bird books over the last 20 odd years! There is no substitute than talking to a really experienced birder like yourself, it was a great opportunity for me.

I get out every day,birding, on my local patches (I have a few). I am tuned into birds wherever I go. But when I meet other birders I lack confidence to ask them questions and waste so many opportunities to connect. I could talk about birds for hours! I guess I just get a bit intimidated by other birders and its such a shame. So when I met you and you were so open it was a complete delight. 

So on reading your book it was so easy to relate to you and your adventures and I just lapped up your every word.

When I met you back in March 2016 and learnt about what you do and how you go about doing it, I  hadn't quite comprehended the challenges of what you were undertaking. it all became more evident on reading your book.

So when I facebook messaged you on 21 March 2016 to tell you about the pale phase Gyrfalcon in the Outer Hebrides I was totally naive about the huge undertaking it would have been for you to 'greenly' get there! You were very polite in your response to me, looking back on it now I was a bit of a fool to suggest a 1000 mile trip to you!!!!

Right now I am emailing you from the kitchen of a superb cottage we are renting, a stones throw from the WWT Caerlaverock Reserve in Dumfries. I have finally joined the WWT, an early birthday present from my long suffering, non birding husband!!

I am spending every day of our 2 week holiday at the reserve. I have missed the drake Garganey that has been spotted here, but thats OK. I am not an avid lister, I do keep lists but dont stress if I miss out. I am just here for any bird I can see and I get immense pleasure just watching and marvelling at them. I know you understand that.

Ok, so I think I have mentioned everything I wanted to and I just hope it comes across about how much I loved your book and enjoy following you on social media. You are a birding mentor to me, from afar. Thank you for sharing your experiences and your knowledge. I hope I meet you again some day to continue chatting all things birds.

Huge luck in Peru and keep safe.

Many Thanks Lise Hanson (also known as Lisa but dont like it!)

.......... going to the Outer Hebs again this September, cant wait!

Thanks Lise. Wonderful of you to send this.

Thanks to Opticron. They have supported me on this trip just like they did back in 2010 and using their binoculars is going to be a pleasure and a privilege. 

So here goes . . . next blog entry will be from Lima! What a thought.

Please make a donation to either Birdlife International or to the wonderful Chaskwasi-Manu Children's Project.

Please buy a copy of my book and remember that ever sale plants a tree in The Andes.

Mostly though, please keep your messages of support and interest coming. I love to hear from people, especially when they talk about their own experiences and thoughts.

Thanks everyone. Love to you all, Gary 

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