Friday 11 March 2022

BIKING BIRDER VI 2022 With Mum & Dad - part 2


          So after taking the bike to the repair shop and having a quote of over £200 for what needs to be done (ouch!), I walk back to Mum & Dad's.

          My only birdwatching will be in the garden. Mum & Dad live in a village called Romsley in North Worcestershire. It is atop a hill around 900 feet above sea level, which is always great to set off from but a pain in the posterior over getting back to.

          Dad is 90 years old and Mum 89 so there garden is not a large one. It does however back onto a large predominently Oak woodland. The birdlife reflects this. No House Sparrows, though there are some on the other side of the housing estate, there are mostly finches, Chaffinch being the most common but they have had Goldfinch, Bullfinch, Greenfinch, as well as Siskin and Lesser Redpoll.

          This week there have been a couple of Bramblings, quite rare here.

          As well as finches, there are always good numbers of titmice present, mainly Blue Tits but also Great and Coal with occasional passing flocks of Long-tailed Tits.

          Nuthatch, two of them, are regular too.

          as are Blackbird, Dunnocks, Robin, Wren, Carrion Crow and Magpie.

          Wood Pigeons and Stock Doves have been seen most days this week.

          And a Buzzard came down when some out of date meat was put out.

          Now the bike will be back tomorrow, which also happens to be Mum & Dad's 67th wedding anniversary, another reason to be with them this weekend, yet I have a problem over which way to go next.

          Before today I had planned to go to the Wyre Forest west of here and try to see Lesser Spotted Woodpecker. I was then going to set off for Lincolnshire via Middleton Lakes RSPB Reserve and Eyebrook Reservoir in Leicestershire. The long-staying White-tailed Plover has moved to another RSPB reserve, Frampton.

          Tonight though, a long-standing member of The Birding Clams, a Facebook birding group originally set up for ex-students of mine who were members of a YOC/Bird Club I ran in the 1970-80s, Jason Oliver messaged me to say that the flaming Belted Kingfisher is back!

          I had tried for this bird in January and it had disappeared just before I reached its location.

          Then it had reappeared again as I headied south to Somerset then promptly disappeared again. It was rumoured to have been seen near Burton-on-Trent which would have been a lot closer than the original location.

          Now it has been seen once more at that original location near to Preston, Lancashire.

           So, should I head north once more for a bird that regularly disappears but is one that would only be an amazing one to get for my Green Bird list but would also be a personal British lifer? Or should I stick with the plan worked out before this news and head east for the White-tailed Plover?

          Part of the fun of doing a BIGBY, a Big Green Big Year is having these considerations and planning accordingly. Dilemmas add to it.

          Final thought for the evening is over the seemingly hotting up race for the European BIGBY year list record, my aim for this year. At the moment, from what I can find out via various Green Birding listing webpages, I am fifth. Two Spaniards are ahead of me, including my nemesis, Ponc Feliu Latorre. He is on 166 birds for the year and is second to Jose Luis Anguita, who is on 172.

EcoBigYearEspana 2022

          In France both Corentin Movan and Maxene Pevot are ahead of me but not by much, being on 140 and 138.

Year List 'verte' Zero Carbon

          What more motivation do I need than to beat both the French and the Spanish?

Be seeing you!

BIKING BIRDER VI 2022 Time at Mum and Dad's


          A couple of weeks with Mum and Dad, with occasional trips out to either see a local bird, get my bike fixed or helping Acorns Children's Hospice.

          First trip out was to Frankley and Bartley reservoirs, situated on the west of Birmingham. Target birds were a couple of white-wingers that had been seen there; Iceland and Glaucous Gull*

          Glaucous was seen, albeit distantly because of the tall fences that surround Frankley Waters. The fences are to stop Welsh national terrorists, if they exist as they would love to disrupt the water supply to Birmingham. The water comes from the Elan Valley in Wales.

          Good bird goes onto the BIGBY bird list.

          Garden birds included this Siskin, first ones seen well with the ones on the list being a fly over flock that I saw back in January in Shropshire.

          My next outing was over the weekend of March 5-6th. The main aim of Saturday was to help fundraise for Acorns Children's Hospice by being at my beloved Aston Villa for their match against Southampton.

          You may not have recognised me if you were at the match!          

          It was fabulous dancing to the music of the band outside the immense Trinity Road stand, whilst making sure that Alex the Acorn gave as many people, especially children and parents, as much fun as possible.

          The fundraising went well and Villa won 4 - 0. I was outsdie the ground when Ollie Watkins scored the first, maybe the first time I have ever been outside the ground when Villa scored in almost sixty years of going to the matches. Strange but wonderful.

          Villa's support of Acorns Children's Hospice has been going on for over a decade now. Back when Martin O'Neill was manager Villa sponsored Acorns Children's Hospice and had Acorns emblazoned on the team shirts. How proud to be a Villa fan back then and those Villa shirts are still the only ones with a name on them that I will wear. I will never wear a shirt with a car sales company, a casino, a betting company or a printer manufacturer logo. 

           It is all about supporting the fabulous hospice and help the children, parents, families and staff.

          Of course fundraising is ongoing and it would be fabulous if you could give something to this incredible hospice via the link below :

        Thanks everyone.

          On the way there, cycled of course, no fossil fuel transport allowed this year, I went to Edgbaston Reservoir in the hope of seeing the Iceland Gull* that had been seen intermittently there recently.

         On arrival I found it almost immediately! Whilst filming and photographing the bird a couple of Ring-necked Parakeets* flew over. Two new birds for my BIGBY bird list, brilliant!

          After the match I went to a nearby pub to stay overnight, Shanahans and was given free accommodation and breakfast. The cost of this became a donation for Acorns. I was also allowed to collect money for Acorns from the punters. 

 Thanks Billy, Annie and everyone at Shanahans.

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I have been doing all my internet searches via ECOSIA for three years. I also open every webpage I wish to access by doing an internet search using ECOSIA. With my homepage being set up to ECOSIA, I type in the name of the webpage I wish to access and click, there I am with another search recorded.

          This is my homepage. Note the 22,583 searches! Notice how many trees they have plated since its inception ...   145,576,0006 trees. I do love seeing the number go up. At the moment the rate of tree planting is around one every second.

          Now the number one internet search engine is Google (Boo. Hiss!). There are 8.5 billion internet searches carried out on Google every day (Boo. Hiss!) . . . 8,500,000,000. 

          99,000 searches a second!

          How fabulous it would be to see that figure transferred to an internet search engine that plants trees! ECOSIA (Hurrah!!!)

          99,000 searches using ECOSIA would equate to 2,200 trees being planted every second. Imagine that!

                        Click here for ECOSIA

          The ECOSIA webpage gives links to ECOSIA tree planting projects around the World.

          This webpage gives details of many of the countries and projects where trees are being planted by ECOSIA :

          Access the webpage and take a look for yourselves.

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BIKING BIRDER VI 2022 February 26th Upton Warren Worcestshire Wild Trust Nature Reserve


          A comfortable night spent in the hide despite a frost in the morning, I get up to watch birds from the East Hide.


          Birders soon arrive at this popular reserve. They include the almost ever present Andy Pitt. Target bird for the day is the Jack Snipe. One has been seen recently and it isn't long before Andy shouts out that he has one.

          It may be another National Geographic calendar photograph but it is proof that I have seen the bird. One Jack Snipe* utb.

          Bird on the BIGBY bird list, by late morning I am heading back to my parents' home 10 miles or so to the north.

          Passing a petrol station, how long before they are things from the past? I look at the price and am grateful that I won't be buying any petrol this year.

                 Reason to be a Green Birder!

Take a look at the Green Birding Megastars page . . .

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

5 th January                                                            Tragedy                                              The Bee Gees   ...