Monday, 11 May 2015
I have a vain tendency.
When it is suggested that I'd not been interested in, or quite in shape to meet, physical challenges my friends or family are putting themselves through I casually offer to join them. As a result I have found myself cycling from Lands End to Ely, discovering a true love of playing football, finding I can run 10K faster than my sibling - all very good and positive (save the sibling rivalry). Now I have placed myself "in training", with a fortnight lead up to a cross country Tri-athlon. Fool.
Or maybe not. On Sunday I woke early and was out on a 30km bike ride across the fens to the south of Ely before 6.30, I was escorted along the river bank, wind in my hair, by 3 or more different Barn Owls. Egrets and noisy Oystercatchers flew up and down the Great Ouse and heading across the fields Marsh Harrier beat their way to forage the ditches and headlands while Buzzards mewed territorially. Into the old fen and reedbeds I diverted off road amidst rattles, explosions, melodic meanderings and arpeggios of birdsong. Cetti's Warblers abounded and Lesser Whitethroat and Willow Warbler were sentinel. Garden Warbler, Blackcap, Reed and Sedge Warbler created an aural backwash but no purr of the Dove was heard. Later a Turtle Dove did parachute down in display into the Hawthorn snow and a Bearded Tit pinged out in the Phragmites. What blissful jungle this was and a Bittern boomed in agreement. Further out into the fen flooded pools held Gulls and Grebes, this little blighter was beautiful through the bins and a snapped shot shouldn't be too much of an identification challenge .
A Roe buck was pretty nonchalant as I rode past and along the lodeside where a pair of Whooper Swans, fully winged, unrung but seemingly feral, appeared to be on territory.
A male Peregrine circling over farmland on the return leg continues to suggest we should be checking all towers and pylons in the vicinity, I did spend an hour at the Cathedral later in the day to no avail. So my training bike ride turned into a pretty fruitful early morning birding trip. On my return to Stuntney Heights I did manage to complete a 6K run on wobbly legs but complete it I did...now there's just an open water swim to factor in to the mix and I'll be half way ready.