You've got a birdin' crew. You travel as a group in one or the others motor and at the end of the day/trip, the driver splits the cost of the fuel and you all cough up your rightful equal amounts, yeah?
Every so often however, one of the team is experiencing hard-times or something along them lines and when you ring them to offer them a place in the car, they pitifully have to decline as their funds don't allow them to pay their way at that time. The majority of birders, me definitely included, would always reply by saying ''It's OK mate, get ya shit together and I'll pay your share and ya can pay me back when ya flush again''. Sadly, a few days ago, a couple of my regular crew members did the complete opposite to me - I was offered a place on a day out in Norfolk. During the preceding week, I'd booked the Friday off work and was quite looking forward to a day out on the coast. Thursday evening however, I suddenly made myself aware that I may not actually have enough 'loose change' to justify the trip so I text the boys and let them know that I couldn't really afford to join them as I'd miscalculated my funds........ Ya know what reply I got? Go on, have a guess...bearing in mind that one of the individuals I'd text was virtually joined at my hip throughout our year-list attempt last year, the same guy who I'd frequently waivered any cost on numerous 'in-county' jaunts and also allowed to pay me for the odd twitch later if he couldn't afford it at the time.... the reply was simply, and this is verbatim -
''OK mate, shame''
That's it. As simple and blunt as that! Despite an overwhelming urge to text back with some explicit response such as ''Fuck off then ya c*nt'', I refrained, smoked a fag and polished off a bottle of rouge juice. It was only Norfolk anyway and everybody knows, only muppets go there on Fridays!
So, I had a free day & weekend to myself and made the decision to kick the shit out of the patch. This I did but sadly it failed to yield and kept most of it's goodies hidden, apart from a few little bits that somehow kept the enthusiasm going........
The following should be likened to the end credits of an epic movie, only to be read if you like the background music (this doesn't have music) or you're a die-hard fan (hopefully).
King's Mill Reservoir, Notts
Friday 8th April - Four hours of coverage resulted in very little apart from the beginning of a dose of sunburn. With awesome skies and a light breeze, I chose to viz-mig from the traditional spot over the railway. As was expected, viz-mig was quiet with a single Buzzard SE, 28 Mipits NW, 39 B-h.Gulls North and two Kestrels that powered very high & purposefully North. Coverage of the eastern boundary only resulted in 4 Willow Warblers, 2 Blackcaps, 3 Chiffchaffs, & 2 R-l.Partridge.
Above - The view North from the 'hotspot'
Saturday 9th April - The undoubted highlight of another hot yet dreary 4hrs coverage was a Ringed Plover that tanked it thru heading NE at 9.54am. A proper patch mega with just 22 birds being previously recorded since 1991, the last confirmed record being back in 2005! Very little else was noted during the mornings vigil.
Sunday 10th April - A slightly more productive morning with the highlight being an LRP that zipped thru (SW) at 1040am. The first Whitethroats of the year had returned with at least two birds noisily announcing their presence along the railway adjacent to the Sailing Club Marsh. With only an handful of Sand Martins being seen over the weekend so far, it was good to note up to 30 birds feeding over the water with a single Swallow (no House Martin yet!). Willow Warblers, Blackcaps & Chiffys seem to be well 'in' now and 9+ Greylags were noted.
Above - boredom was eased by attempting some graphic images of Rape!
So, as I lazily lounged around on the garden Sunday afternoon, my mind being fuzzed by a combination of lager and the intense heat, I reflected that although it was a pretty uneventful few days, being free of the constraints of a year-list attempt but gripped by the lure of patching............fuck this, I'm rambling now. The End.