This weekend was perhaps my most knackering for several years after I covered nearly 1,000 miles on the road, spanning 2 countries (3 if you're into Cornish independance!).
After leaving London at 10pm on Friday, I eventually rolled up in the car park of my hotel in Liskeard, Cornwall at 3.30am. I was wrecked before I started my journey - a situation that worsened considerably by the time I reached my destination. Indeed, the Tawny Owl that flew across the road outside Liskeard, barely registered with me.
After a few short hours kip, I woke up at 7.30am thinking about the talk that I was about to deliver at the Port Eliot Festival in nearby St Germans as part of the 'Bird Effect' series of talks. I wrote a few notes on the back of an envelope after breakfast and I arrived at the festival at 1pm. I was on the bill with the likes of Tim Birkhead, Stephen Moss and Phil Daniels who was reciting a couple of poems that he had written.
The talks started at 3pm and were great, especially Tim's who discussed his fascination with sex in the avian world. My talk on urban birding went down well. Apparently, one woman was weepy at the end because she was overcome by my passion for my subject. I don't know about that!
Almost directly afterwards, I jumped in the car and at 11.30pm arrived at the home of Julian Hughes, RSPB Conwy Reserve Manager. I crawled out the car and straight into bed via some pre-sleep conversation and being barked at by his highly excitable big dog.
The morning came too soon. After breakfast with Julian and his wife Sandra I spent the remainder of the day leading 3 walks - including one containing at least 60 people with their kids, plus 2 impromptu talks on the wonders of urban birders for beginners.
I had a great day at this my favourite nature reserve in the whole of Wales. The birdy highlight was seeing my first ever Common Sandpiper chick on the lagoon edge. Common Sands breeding on a lowland urban site is incredible in itself. The most amazing moment was when volunteer Audrey Parry gave me 2 beautiful potted plants to give to my mum to help celebrate her 50 years in Britain. She had read my last blog entry before this one. My mum was very touched and has asked me to thank you Audrey, if you're reading this.
At the end of the day, I was completely talked out and after a quick drink with Julian, the staff and volunteers, I migrated south to arrive back in west London for 10pm - exactly 48 hours later.
Note to self: next time I do a roadtrip get someone else to drive!
Publicity for the Wildlife Weekend at Conwy RSPB Reserve