Tuesday 22 February 2022

BIKINGBIRDER VI 2022 February 16th Cardiff Bay Dip


          Out early but not early enough to see the reported Bonaparte's Gull. Arriving after cycling the four miles from last night's B & B through Cardiff's convoluted streets into a strong headwind, the rare American gull has been scared off from the palying fields it was on. Lots of dogs are running around, fair enough, it is their owners home after all.

          Two local birders arrive as the weather goes from windy with some sun to gale and horizontal rain. Together we get wet and natter about birds.

          As the weather deteriorates and it seems obvious that the Bonaparte's will not be seen today,    and Pete leave and I decide to try the 'come to bread' tactic.

          My first ever Bonaparte's Gull was seen way back in the late 1980s at New Brighton on The Wirral. Myself and three of my Secondary students, members of the Coppice Bird Club and YOC, Alex, Richard and, well was Jason there? We had arrived at the place reported on Birdline, the telephone and spend a fortune rare bird news service available back then but the assembled birders told us that the Boneys had not been seen.

          "Alex, can you go buy a loaf of bread?"

          Bread bought and thrown out to the Mersey water's edge, down came the gulls and down came the Bonaparte's Gull! UTB!

          Bread and bread rolls bought, I stand by the jetty and toss pieces to the assembled throng of Mute Swans, ducks and gulls, totally not seeing the Don't Feed The Birds signs attached to the fence. 

          No Bonaparte's Gull on this occasion though and I spend some time photographing the birds that do come to the free offerings.

          With the weather worsening I decide to give the morning up as a bad job and head back to the B & B. I spend the afternoon washing my clothes and relaxing. Weather forecasts tell of storms arriving. Today's was Storm Dudley. Eunice and Franklin are on the way and what doosies they are forecast to be!          



BIKING BIRDER VI 2022 February 15th Back to Newport Wetlands RSPB Reserve and off to Cardiff.


Donations : Acorns


Many thanks to . . . 

Stuart Green, Judith Geraghty, Brenda Campbell, Paul Moseley, Alison Everett, Bill Urwin, Lee & Cathy Gregory, Sean (Liverpool), Lindsey Moore, Anonymous, Lindsey Barthorpe, Julie, Sue, Julie (Upton Warren), Ian "Seagulls" Morris, Larraine Tayleure, Andrew Bayes, Andy Pitt,Andrea, P & P, 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.

And also many thanks to the person from Llandudno who sent money directly to Acorns Children's Hospice, stating 'The Biking Birder' in the letter. Brilliant! Thanks. 

Acorns Children's Hospice 

Total so far . . . 

£944 plus gift aid


Donations : RSPB


Many thanks to . . . 

Stuart Green, Judith Geraghty, Lynn, Bill Urwin, Lee & Cathy Gregory, Sean (Liverpool), Lindsey Moore, Julia, Nicky M, Karen and Richard Blackburn, Paul Moseley, Susan, Jim Royer, Anonymous, Foz, anonymous, Phil (Upton Warren), Dad and RSPB Badges sold, P & P, Moira, Jill from Dorking, Nicky M, Terri Akers, Anne Beckett, Maria Hill, Mark Carter, P

Gary's RSPB Justgiving page link

Total so far . . . 

£520 plus gift aid


          Awake early in my cosy sleeping bag, atop a fully inflated inflatable mattress, the puncture repair patch has worked and after a night disturbed by a Barn Owl sitting atop the bird hide accommodation hissing away.
          Rain is pouring and a fresh breeze is in my face as I search around the nearby fields and the reserve for any geese. Maybe the Tundra Bean Goose seen recently is still around.
          It isn't so I cycle to Newport Wetlands and getting wetter, I head to the extensive reedbeds, the coastal path and then the bird hide where I watch as a couple of Little Grebes come close.
          With heavy rain and a strong westerly gale, I stay in the bird hide and see a Cormorant land on the long rectangular pool, dive and come up with a large flatfish that takes moments to disappear down its gullet.
           To the RSPB Visitors Centre for coffee and a fantastic chat with the effervescent Christine. Christine is a sparkling character and should become a member of the RSPB Sunshine 'Meet & Greet' personal. Listening to her and watching her expansive movements as she describes her kayaking adventures with her husband, kayaking holidays in Scotland, Cornwall and Pembrokeshire, is an absolute delight! 
          I sit in the cafe area of the RSPB centre and count every bird that comes in front of me, either on the pool, on the feeders and bird table or pass in flight.

Photos taken yesterday. Too wet today!

          25 bird species in an hour and all from one spot. I place the list onto eBird later . . . 

          The rest of my day is spent cycling in the rain and wind, heading towards Cardiff by a number of back roads and cycle paths. 

I need to see some donations for the charities! 


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.

Jane Graham, Suzi Scarlett, 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.


If anyone would like to make a pledge, say 1p for every bird specie I see this year, with the thought that I think I will see around 280-90 different species, then please message me. It would be fabulous to hear from you. Thanks.


Sunday 20 February 2022

BIKING BIRDER VI 2022 February 14th Off Back to Wales via The Old Severn Birdge


          After a day off because of wet and windy weather, and after having enjoyed a fabulous Vegan carvery, nut roast and veg with Vegan gravy (thanks Dan!) during a day of watching Aston Villa lose to Newcastle 😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭

          . . . I set off very early morning, as soon as daylight permits, around 8.00 am, heading north for the Severn Bridge crossing.

          I stop at Portishead hoping to see reported Purple Sandpipers but the tide isn't quite right, just going out and there are a number of dog walkers with dogs running around along the muddy, rocky beach.

          Finding a cycle path along the seafront there, I stop for a while to peruse the hundreds of painted pebbles placed along an adjacent wall.

          Carrying on, Siri tells me the route north and I follow her instructions as the cycle path via a very convuluted way, 

          . . . eventually gets to the old Severn Bridge.


          And so into Wales! I stop after a couple of miles as the tunnel the cycle path goes through has some interesting graffiti.

          My next stop is to photograph a rather tame Grey Wagtail, in a ditch beside the road and the first Celandine of the year.

          I just love the way the Grey Wagtail looks at me with curiosity and disdain.
          Two hours or so later I reach Newport Wetlands RSPB Visitor's Centre and enjoy a cup of tea with a few staff members and take a photograph of the three meet & greet/visitor experience officers before leaving to reach my night-time accommodation, a bird hide not too far away where I have the hope of seeing a Tundra Bean goose.

Nick, Josh & Kirsty

All photographs taken this day are on here :


BB 2010 Oops, crash and a motorway Abominable Snowman in Hemel Hempstead January 5th

5 th January                                                            Tragedy                                              The Bee Gees   ...