Friday 18 February 2022

BIKING BIRDER VI 2022 February 11th Greylake RSPB Reserve to Weston Super Mare

 Baikal Teal to a dip!


          A cold night but warm enough in my heavy four season sleeping bag, I am awoken by the arrival of a birder into the hide at greylake RSPB reserve. Surprised to see that it is past 8 am, I am soon up and searching for the Baikal Teal. I want better views than that of last night, tickable though that view was.

          What a brilliant bird to get for the BIGBY, Big Green Big Year bird list! Maybe, just maybe the birding gods are going to conspire to allow me to get the European record this year and remove the 'dirty' label attached to the Biking Birder by my Spanish Green Birding friends.

Ponc Feliu Latorre, the 'clean' Biking Birder 
and me, the 'dirty' Biking Birder

         Dirty because of my use of ferries during my UK BIking Birder adventures of the past, I haven't and won't be using any form of fossil fuel transport this year. Mind you someone noted that I do use oil when cycling, bike oil on the chain! I'll have to use sunflower oil. LOL.

          Just in time for the sunrise, I walk around to the viewpoint and watch as hundreds of ducks, mainly Wigeon, Lapwing and Teal, fly around when disturbed by a passing Buzzard.

          Masses of birds are always a pleasure and a delight, watching birds close to also...

          Birders arrive and start to search for the Baikal.

          Bill Urwin arrives once more and immediately finds the rare one! Better photos now, I daftly forget to use my own camera as I use my Iphone through the 'scope once more.

          With the main target birds for the Somerset levels all seen, my plan for the day is to head towards Weston Super Mare and try to see the reported Penduline Tits.

          With six of the listed birds on my BIGBY bird list I am feeling great as I say goodbye to the incomparable Bill Urwin, hoping to see him again sometime soon.
          I see him about an hour later! Another attempt at the Tundra Bean Goose. No sign of the goose but a playful pair of Otter cubs spend over an hour being persued by photographers along a dyke.
Amazing to have them so claose and almost totally unperturbed by the close proximity of people. I wonder where Mum and Dad are?

          Time to say goodbye once more to Bill...

"Goodbye Bill!"

. . . I cycle off towards the Pendulines, stopping occasionally to watch and photograph birds and get my bearings over where to cycle next.

          One of these birds I can't count on my BIGBY bird list!

          Eventually late afternoon I arrive at the reedbeds just north of Hutton, Weston Super Mare and a birder I had seen at Greylake, tells me that he had just been photographing the rare tits.

          First though, before going to find the Tits for myself, I photograph some WW2 pill boxes for a friend, Paul Hayesmore.

          No sign of the Penduline Tits, I search the area seeing a pair of Kingfishers streaking their blue lighting along a deep adjacent dyke. Two Water rails show themselves, one flying, the other creeping across some short grass between two small reedbed patches. Snipe zig zag out of the marsh and Kestrel, Buzzard and Sparrowhawk keep all small birds on alert.
         Talking with a Liverpool birder, Sean O'Hara, who kindly gives me a donation for the two charities I am supporting this year, a coupgh from behind has me turning round and squeeling with delight.
          Cathy & Lee Gregory, one of the most wonderful couples on the planet and close friends, have sneeked up on me! Big hug time!!!

           Best photograph of them comes from a moment when Lee had found Fair Isle's first ever Siberian Accentor back in 2016 ...

          and the bird?

Siberian Accentor at my feet!

          With no sign of the Penduline Tits, dusk begins to fall and masses of Starlings murmer for a while before diving into the reedbeds.


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