Wednesday and I didn't feel the need to stand looking at a small patch of reeds or getting my legs bitten and chemically attacked by what was lurking within them, Dan went. Got nothing for his troubles. Instead I managed to get round the whole patch for once, not the ornamental waters of course, but the interesting bits of the patch. The alternate day ruling dealing the cards.
You sometime instinctively know when it's going to be a good day. Well that's probably crap, as I often think that only for resounding defeat due to the utter boredom of it all, but those days you forget, and the euphoric ones you remember.
Today it felt right. Plodding past Angel Pond, as I have done for the last 3 years and many hundreds of times, a little bird zipped in and out of the sedges. I stopped retraced my steps, and it zipped into the only willow bush in the overgrown pond. A Sedge Warbler. Tuesday 4 hours to get a partial ID, within a minute of getting on the flats today - nailed!
Of course when Jono arrived with his new larger version of the Hubble telescope it had reverted to being skittish and irritating. I left, still bearing the scars on my leg from the Tuesday bird.
By Long Wood, I was predicting Redstart. Didn't find any, or much of anything, bar a lot of Chiffies and some Willow Warbler.
I was getting quite worried by the time I had gone through the SSSI and only found more phylloscs. At the great barrier of the police compound I heard a "chup chup chup" coming from behind me. Didn't see the Crossbill, or for that matter the first Yellow Wag later. Getting better!
As the finch faded into the distance I caught sight of 2 pipit like birds chasing each other over the birch. I would check for them later. First up Jubilee to see if there were any friendly Common Sandpiper around, and Cat & Dog just in case. No Sandpiper, but a possible Sedge zipping into the reeds on D&C. Meanwhile I was having a text conversation with Jono on whether Tree Pipit always call when they fly. I reminded him that the 2 first autumn birds we had last year didn't call for an age before revealing their true identity. If he ever read the blog...
Back in the SSSI I followed some Long-tailed Tits towards the little oak copse. I went round the long way to look for Redstart, and made my way back to the main path through the overgrown birch and bramble. Chiffies were now calling everywhere. Then a red flash as a Redstart followed the tits and warblers through the birches.
Now I noticed birds flycatching from the top of the limes across the way. One was a male redstart, a bit scruffy, probably a young bird, but quite adept, plus two real flycatchers (and there could have been more - Dan found at least one more on his search later that afternoon) in attendance. The amount of movement in the trees was amazing, birds everywhere.
I dragged myself away wanting to cover the whole of the flats so a quick look down Long Wood: one spotty there, and then over to the Alex - 2 there, and a whole heap more of Chiffies in another large tit flock floating between the islands and shore of the lake.
It's getting better! Oh yes!