Friday 24th April. Willington Gravel Pits, 18:15 - 19:00
Here's a dilemma while stuck at work on a Friday afternoon. On one hand, a Little Tern at Belvide, a very respectable county bird. One the other, 11 Whiskered Terns at Willington in South Derbyshire, which is an unbelievable number at an old stomping ground of mine. So I went there.
After going straight from work I realised on the way that my camera was at home. Thankfully I have a photo of one of them from Kay, freshly arrived back from bonny Scotland.
Saturday 25th April. Hawksmoor, 11:00 - 12:45
A walk round one of my local woods in the morning produced a singing Wood Warbler, 1 Pied Flycatcher and 3 Redstarts.
I wasn't sure what to do next. A quick nip back home to check birdguides mentioned 2 Bar-Tailed Godwits at Branston. So off we go there:
As you can see one of them in cracking full summer plumage. Heading back towards home to get shopping done. Uttoxeter Quarry was eventful:
What the hell was I doing thinking this was a Wood Sandpiper? Although, most of the Green Sandpipers you see in the autumn and winter don't have all that mottling on the back, just a plain green. I can't ever remember seeing a full breeding plumage Green Sand in late April, but really that clear cut breast band, going in a straight line, should have given it away. There's also nowhere near enough mottling on the back for it to be a Wood Sand.
A complete shocker, and a quick correction to the information services was done.
Sunday 26th April.
Still feeling chastened by last night's howler, I felt a lie-in was called for. Even that was a mistake as I missed a Greenshank at Uttoxeter Quarry. Long gone by the time I got round there.
Time for birding was always going to be limited today, due to the big match at Torquay. So a quick check along the causeway at Blithfield before heading over to my dad's. I managed to pick out an Osprey perched in a tree along the eastern side. Is Ozzy back? No, I'm not starting the naming of Ospreys again this year.
As for the game? Not surprisingly Burton Albion lost to Torquay United 2-1. But thankfully, Cambridge United could only draw against Altrincham. I've always liked the Alty you know! Which means the Albion are crowned champions, and Burton is back in the football league for the first time since 1907. Hurrah hurrah!
When eventually leaving for home and switching my mobile on, I was bombarded with texts mentioning 5 Whiskered Terns at Croxall! Would you believe it! I'll just have to admit defeat with those, impossible for me to get to them while they were there.
Birding wise I probably haven't done too badly, but it just feels that most of my decisions this weekend have been wrong. I'll live to fight another day though. I think it's time for an appointment with a birding-psychiatrist. Now, where's that number for Dr Derek Pechora...............