Tuesday, 2 July 2013

On Yer Bike - Wildlife Rescue!

This summer I got back on my bike. My Specialized Rockhopper Comp mountain bike was a 21st birthday present (unconventional maybe, but it was what I wanted!) but it has been sadly neglected the last few years.

With the Thames behind

When it became apparent that I definitely would NOT be able to go abroad to do the job I had trained to do I was absolutely gutted. I was also alone as my husband was already out there, and so I had no one to take pity on me if I wanted to sulk. So I had to stay positive, act positive, and take on a new challenge instead.

I had read about the South Downs Way the previous year and had thought that seemed like my kind of thing, so I decided to get back on my bike for fitness (unable to run due to a trochanteric bursitis / tendonitis I got during some training, that just will not settle down…) and have the South Downs Way as my goal.

Beginning on the roads I had a great time cycling through the Buckinghamshire countryside. I found new places, so picturesque. I found a lovely spot for a stroll along the Thames.

On one occasion I even spotted a gorgeous little Greenfinch fledgling stuck in the road. I could see it from some way back, struggling to get back up the curb from the road where it lay. Every time a car went by it flapped around in panic, and sometimes got sucked further into the road by the passing cars. And it could not get up that curb, the poor little thing!

When I got to it I got off the bike and used the front wheel as a shield to stop the bird from scooting into the road in panic. It stayed fairly still, so I let it rest a moment while I got my phone out - it was too beautiful not to get a picture! You really shouldn’t handle fledglings as normally their parents are around somewhere and will help them out once you’re out of the way. But this was a bit different – the bird was in danger from the traffic, and the constantly passing cars would make it impossible for the parents to get to it safely.

I’ve had a pet bird before and was pretty confident at handling this little Greenfinch, although I was worried how it would react as small birds can easily die from shock if they are handled. When the bird seemed calm I got my camera at the ready and firmly and gently grabbed hold of it, clicked one picture and put the bird in the nearby hedge. It did seem quite stressed which was upsetting, but I really hoped that it would recover itself and its parents would be with it again – and at least I knew it wouldn't be hit by a car now!

I did enjoy going around by bike, you do see so much more than when you whizz by in a car!

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