Friday 2 February 2018

57 Days to Go - BB2018-Peru. New Forest Wildlife Park

My last blog entry told of tree planting in Peru's Andes mountain range and two amazing young people, two of the finest teenagers one could ever meet.

Mya-Rose Craig, aka Birdgirl is phenomenal and her very popular blog, that has attracted over two million views, is a constant delight. Mya-Rose details twitching trips, World birding trips and issues that she feels passionately about.

Dominik Reynolds is working hard at his A-levels at the moment but is still finding time to organise events for his Wildlife Fund. Recently he was able to give a substantial check to the wonderful ORCA  charity and this weekend Dominik has organised a beach cleaning event on Southampton water.

photograph taken from Dominik's last beach clean

OK, now for some photographs from a day spent with Dominik at the wonderful New Forest Wildlife Park . .  . 

Highlight for me was when a surprise turned out to be an opportunity to feed m favourite animal there . . . Giant Otters. I adore Giant Otters and must be the only visitor to have been to Lake Sandival in Tambopata National Park on three occasions and not seen them! Well now I have fed some from my hand. Fabulous.

New Forest Wildlife Park Facebook page

So back to now. Everything is concentrated on the planning for the Peru adventure. Tomorrow, birds expected to be seen at Junin, Peru, the next site of my adventure after Lima.

All the best everyone,

Love to you all,

Gary  xx

Gary Brian Prescott - Facebook page

Wednesday 31 January 2018

60 days to go to BB2018-Peru. New Forest Wildlife Park Visit.

More about the Polylepsis Forest - tree planting programme by ECOANPERU. - Queuna Raymi, 

ECOANPERU Tree Planting 2017

The above link takes one to a superb video showing tree planting in The Andes in Peru last year.

A major tour - adventure company, Amazonas Explorer, has decided to be carbon neutral and for every customer of there's twenty Polylepsis trees will be planted, taking the number planted by this fabulous company to 50,000!

They also became a B-Corps business. This is like what Fair trade is for coffee but for businesses.

Fascinating to watch the B-Corps video and see some of the businesses that has joined and shares their philosophy.


Now away from all this exciting Peru talk, I have had the pleasure, over the first month of 2018, of giving talks about my Biking Birder adventures to a number of RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) Local groups. The latest talk was for the Portsmouth group. A lovely group who sang for their break of coffee, tea and biscuits. They laughed and watched and a famous young man, Dominik Reynolds, who came to the talk with his mother, Kerry, danced around Morecambe & Wise style. 

Dominik, seven years ago as a small eleven year old, was given the great responsibility of taking a large RSPB collection, 355,773 letters to the future, to Downing Street. Dominik was the youngest ever RSPB volunteer when he started doing work for them at the age of nine.

Dominik's work was finished there though. Dominik was one of a few guests speakers whose task was to enthuse members of the RSPB at the launch of the Stepping Up for Nature campaign.

The other speakers included the wonderful TV presenter, Kate Humble, President of the RSPB that year. Then there was Mark Ian Avery, two ladies describing the Stop the Airport, Cliffe, campaign and a very nervous, no actually terrified Biking Birder.

Dominik wiped the floor with his speech. He was incredible!

On the RSPB webpage describing the day it states :-

And our star of the day, Dominik Reynolds, making certain Mrs Spelman gets the point.

Since that magic day, Dominik has grown so much and has shared his passion for nature with so many people, via volunteer positions and running the Dominik Wildlife Fund.

At the age of fourteen, Dominik wrote :-

My name is Dominik Reynolds. I am 14 years old. I have been volunteering for six years now with the RSPB. Back at the start of it all, I had no idea what experiences and wonderful opportunities would land at my feet as the years went by. But my dedication has rewarded me with some once in a lifetime moments.
I volunteer at the New Forest Reptile Centre near Lyndhurst, usually once every other weekend from April to September, on the RSPB’s ‘Date with Nature’ project. I show visitors around the centre and the reptile pods, sharing my knowledge of our native reptile species. I tell them about our live webcam feed, which we have on big screens in the RSPB hut on the site. The camera is focused on a Goshawk nest and can be watched live online too.
I also show visitors the models of ground nesting birds and the Goshawk, and educate them about these wonderful birds. I really enjoy delving into the diverse contents of the nature basket with the visitors and answer any questions they may have. This contains everything from deer antlers to snake skin and models of all the native reptiles and amphibians we have in the pods. 
My favourite thing about my volunteering is meeting so many new and vastly different people - being  satisfied that they have learnt something new and that I’ve inspired them about the wonderful animals the Forest is home to.
The volunteering experience is made far more enjoyable by the fellow volunteers at the Reptile Centre, and the voluntary Forest Rangers, who work tirelessly to keep places of interest, as well as the Reptile Centre, up and running. Working with them has taught me much of what I know and it is great to form close friendships and have lots of fun and laughter with all the volunteers.
My volunteering has led to me being asked to do some amazing things. I was chosen to represent the RSPB at 10 Downing Street, where I handed in the Letter to the Future campaign. I have also spoken at many conferences with an audience of some quite high up people.
I have been around the south coast taking part in radio interviews about the work of the RSPB and about volunteering for them and have written articles for magazines such as Involve, for RSPB volunteers. Also, I have been Goshawk chick ringing with Forest Rangers - even to the nest we have the live webcam on! 
I would recommend volunteering to anyone who has a little, or a lot, of time to give to a charity or organisation of their interest. It is also a fantastic way of gaining experience with a view to future job choices.
I have gained so much knowledge, experience, confidence and made many valued friendships in the past six years, and I plan to remain a volunteer for many more. 

His fabulous dedication in helping nature brought the richly  deserved "Animal Hero Award of 2014"
Soon to be eighteen, Dominik still supports many wildlife charities by organising fundraising events such as concerts and barn dances. He also organises local beach cleaning events amongst other things.
A future star, Dominik is the sort of young man who brings hope to old cynics. 
All the best everyone,
Love to you all,

Monday 29 January 2018

61 Days to Go . . . BB2018-Peru. Thoughts on Birding Lima, Peru

So after at least a couple of days birding and beach cleaning at Los Pantanos de Villa, a day of final preparations of bike, equipment and self will start with an early morning jaunt around the San Isidro - Bosque el Olivar Park, Kennedy Park and the Miraflores shoreline.

Dawn seen from rooftop, Black Vultures will soon be circling as doves and parrotlets fly across the sky. In the garden Blue Tanagers, Saffron Finches, Croaking Ground Doves and Banaquits will arrive to find bananas and ground seeds waiting for them.

Breakfast eaten, off out the door and make my way to San Isidro's Boque El Olivar, the Olive Grove Park, a park with hundreds of olive trees. These are the ancestors of three olive trees brought to Lima in the Sixteenth Century by a Spaniard named Antonio de Rivera. 

Birds to be seen include the small Southern Beardless Tyrannulet and the large Harris Hawk. Scrub Blackbirds will be poking around beneath the trees and Vermillion Flycatchers dazzlingly perched on a branch.

Time to turn and head for the beach, a few kilometres away. 

Passing the ancient Huaca Pucllana, a large clay pyramid system built over a thousand years ago, the walk arrives at Parque John F. Kennedy. The park is full of cats and people feeding cats! Flower beds contain sleeping cats and the huge, Joseph's coat of many colours bull sculpture does nothing to dissuade them. At least the flowers also have butterflies and the trees have lots of birds.

Down to the beach eventually, Long-tailed Mockingbirds are on the steep ivy-covered slopes as the pathway descends to the sea.

The pebbled beach and breakers of the Pacific line up to provide a noisy backdrop as I walk to the pier.

Rainbow Crabs cling to every rock and Inca Terns rest on stanchions.

Gulls on the stones, Peruvian Pelicans on the sea . . . 

Time for a coffee and some smooth jazz!

 Then the fun will really begin!!!!

Please have a look at my book . . .  The Biking Birder - The Quest for 300, available as a Kindle at present on Amazon but soon a paperback version will be published.

All the very best,

Gary xxx

Gary Brian Prescott - Facebook page

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