Been getting 50+ Golden Plover on one part that's due for development, 400+ Starling, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Peregrine, Little Owl and loads of Pied Wagtail.
But I wanted to take my new bike out for a proper 'test' and get out with the camera. Despite the cloud (then sun briefly) and really sodden conditions I was looking forward to it, all 16 miles of it!
The stats and map of my route with a plan to to add Firecrest hopefully at Brixworth sewage works to my cycling list, ah the glamour lol.
I opted to stop at the second bridge at Merry Tom crossing. A convenient bench with views over the sodden fields which had pools of water which in turn had sizeable flocks of Redwing, Starlings, Fieldfare, Pied Wagtail and the odd Grey Wagtail,Mute Swans, a heron, Lapwings and circa 60+ Golden Plover all feeding and bathing. The river was flowing quickly and quite high (obviously muddy too) under the railway bridge but had a Kingfisher dart through. The hedge (or what's left of it) had all the common species and as a reminder of my quest four Goldcrest. I opted to sit here for an hour as there was plenty to see and not many people the huge muddy puddles at the station deterring the sane.
The best encounter was this Redkite also searching for food as it drifted down the field towards me. I still had grey skies in front of me but the sun was breaking through the clouds behind me giving just enough light to make it worth snapping.
I then cycled up towards the Saxon church and a what was once a killer of a hill but my bike did me good and despatched it brilliantly and onto Pitsford reservoir where the Red Necked Grebe was in the bay near the overflow. I parked myself in the carpark for one last breather before heading home and directed a pair of birders to the Grebe. Good first cycle up the valley and much needed.
So the bike, it's a Carrera Kraken and a real beast.
I opted for a more serious bike as the 'cheaper' bike couldn't cope with my demands. Front wheel bearing collapsed, the old fashioned brake pads are rubbish in wet and muddy conditions.
It's 27 geared which even though only 3 more then my previous bike makes a huge difference. A case of not how many gears but the gearing/ratios. Downhills no longer sees just coasting due to over pedalling, flat and level ground has given me an increase of 4mph on average and uphill sections a hell of lot easier especially since I'm carrying a dslr, 500mm lens, binoculars, bike pump and tools ie a lot of weight.
The suspension on the front (don't like rear suspension) is fully adjustable which is vital for me. For my commute to work I'm normally travelling light and on mostly easy terrain so can firm the suspension up. Or as like yesterday make it a bit softer, the camera bag is really heavy (check the first image out).
As for the disc brakes, invaluable. No more haphazard brake fade in the wet and no more mud getting clogged up between wheel and old fashioned brake pads.