Friday 28 January 2022

20th and 21st January 2022 Chester to North Wales.

 Donations : Acorns 

Many thanks to . . . 

Moira, Jackie Griffiths, Bob, Keep U, Rosie, Jayne Grosvenor, Jane & Andy Revell, Louise, Stuart Griffiths, M & D Shaw, Dave & Sue White, Janette Lowndes, Bart, Lise Hanson, Maria Hill, Phil V, Chris Elmer, Sue Murphy, Nicky, John Hague, Mike, Kimberley Bills, Norma Hines, Rob Gilbert, Julia, Colin Graham, Sarah Moreton, Lizzy, Lisa Hillier, Rob Leech, &P. 

Donations : RSPB 

Many thanks to . . . 

Moira, Jill from Dorking, Nicky M, Terri Akers, Anne Beckett, Maria Hill, Mark Carter, P.

The Sunshine RSPB Ladies at Leighton Moss RSPB Reserve from back in 2010. 

and their version of Morecambe & Wise's song - Positive Thinking.

20th January    Into Wales

          Up early and out likewise, a Grey Wagtail has a large grub which it soon swallows down before flying off over the rooftops towards a nearby canal.

          After a brief visit to the university i attended in the Seventies, Chester, I head down to the River Dee and am reaquainted with a place where i was almost swept away many decades ago.
          Fishing at night, I heard a loud rushing sound and realised that a tidal bore was bearing down on me. Grabbing everything I could, I scrambled up the river bank just in time as a metre high plus wave of water came surging in. 

          There is a superb smooth cycle path along the tidal river and I soon reach a footbridge over it and before long I am into Wales.
          Long pushes up steadily rising hills and long stretches of relatively easy cycling all get me close to Mold in North Wales. From there though the road is steep and it is agonising to push the heavy bike up to the top of the hill in order to reach tonight's accommodation, Plas Hafod Hotel.
          Mind you all that agony is soon forgotten when the receptionist tells me that they are going to put me in a small cottage in the hotel grounds!

21st January 2022     Llandegla Forest

          A seemingly never ending series of dips and rises brings me eventually to moorland and then to Llandegla Forest itself. Crossbills* fly overhead with a few landing on the topmost branches of the tall fir trees.  

          Walking on with the thought of how will I see the real target bird of the day, Black Grouse, I lose the path towards the RSPB viewpoint and find myself on the moorland edge. For half an hour not one bird is seen. Red Grouse* are calling somewhere out there but not giving any views. No birds flying. No birds on the cut parts of the extensively managed grouse moorland, I hide from the cold wind by trying to get behind a few small fir trees.
          About to give up and try a different spot, the birding gods give me a break and a female Black Grouse* flies in front of me. Reasonably close, the bird's large size and wing bar are both clear to see.

          With a beaming success smile, I march triumphantly along mountain bike pathways and find the RSPB viewpoint. Not in use as the prime time to see Black Grouse is when the males are lekking, morning time displays, later in the year, I read the RSPB noticeboards and look through the bird hide slots out over the moorland. Still no birds and I note that some small tree management will be desirable for anyone to go and see the lek in the future.
          Back to my hidden bike, I cycle on to the Horseshoe Pass and have memories of Peruvian Andean plummets from my 2018 Biking Birder III adventure as I negotiate the steep drop.

Charity Pledges 

These are the names of people who have made a pledge to pay so much per bird species seen at the end of the year to either one of the charities I am supporting or to both.

Lee Dark, Mary & Brian Prescott, Joshua Prescott, Rebecca Prescott and Les Oxley-Stoker, Donna Prescott. 

Massive thanks to everyone who has either made a donation or made a pledge. Wonderful.

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