And I also intended to finish off the Cape May tale, but during the last couple of days of the trip my notes kind of went to pot, mainly due to a heavy cold developing. Bit of a struggle to keep going, but keep going I did. Thankfully, Kay finished the tale off in fine style. Particularly that Waterthrush, yabbadabbadoo. But should anyone be interesting in going and how do it, just get in touch.
Some highlights since getting back then. The weekend of 18th and 19th of May (blimey, was it really a month ago?) was productive. After heading over to Derby sort out a new car on the 18th, a check of Blithfield revealed a Whooper Swan in Mickledale Bay. Seems odd mentioning Whoopers in the middle of June, mind you it was pretty odd in the middle of May too.
The majority of the 19th was a struggle to see anything, on a calm sunny day. Very little was seen at both Branston GP's and Uttoxeter Quarry. But when just finishing at the quarry, the pager mentioned 2 Common Cranes at Blithfield, at the very end of Blithe Bay. Gosh, lets give it a go.
In the end it turned out to be a rather frantic experience. Taking the car down Blithe Bay is always a slow affair, particularly when I was in the old car and sold it the previous day! And then realising that the Cranes had taken off when parked up, oh no they've gone. But after a few minutes of scanning the skies, there they were, thank goodness for that! There was even time to run back to car, and get the camera for a couple of shots.
It was at this point, to my horror, that Eric "Sam" Clare still hadn't seen them. To grip him off from 50 yards would've been unthinkable. So another run was done, and we both observed them gradually rising in the sky until out of sight.
With the exception of Belvide's Spotted Sandpiper on Sunday 26th, the other highlights from the Bank Holiday weekend came on Monday 27th. A bit of a breeze had built up, and a Sanderling at Uttoxeter Quarry gave me a bit of hope. Moving onto Blithfield, three more Sanderling were along the causeway.
Then setting the scope up and scanning the reservoir between the causeway and Beech Tree point to count the Terns. Hang on, the bill on that one is the wrong colour, it's yellow! Hey hey, it's a Little Tern!
And ever since then, other than a Black Tern at Uttoxeter Quarry on the 29th May, it's been pretty quiet around home. Over the last week there's been a couple of drives into Derbyshire, in particular for the Marsh Warbler at Carsington Water on June 10th, and a rather elusive but very vocal Golden Oriole at Padley Gorge last Saturday (15th).
As for Sunday, with hindsight I suppose I should've gone for the Pacific Swift in Suffolk. But I really wanted to see the Greenish Warbler, at Turton Golf Club, just north of Bolton in Lancashire, and a bit put-off by news of the access for the Saturday. So that's what I did, and is perfectly scopable from across the fairway.
But on arrival I was told that a maximum of three people at a time could cross the fairway for a closer look, as long as no golfers were around. I don't know if that happens every day, maybe I got lucky. But when crossing the fairway, the views of the singing Greenish Warbler really were incredible. It also helped for getting a better idea of where the bird was getting to when you're back across.
Well done to all those who saw the Pacific Swift by the way, but please, please, please. There appears to be a growing number of twitchers using the word "Boom" when getting a tick. Nothing beats the thrill of a tick of course, but really, it's a truly awful use of the English language. An abomination (or an aboomination if you wish) and it has to stop! Otherwise, I may have to hang up my binoculars *.
* actually, I might not do that bit!