Eh? No entry since 24th October? Janey! No, I haven't been away (much) - I just haven't seen anything! Been out the odd time but got nowt for me troubles. Until Saturday morning. When my tardiness was duly rewarded with 4 (count 'em) gadwall on the lake (135). I only patch-ticked gadwall last december, when I had 4 (count 'em) birds on the sea - no doubt these are returning birds then, setting a new trend by wintering for 1 day only at Long Strand! I can confirm that they were slightly earlier than last year, but I still got 'em!
No sign of them next day, but wonder of wonders, instead there was a great crested grebe and a wigeon. In the same scope! Amayzing! Unfortunately the wigeon wasn't a year tick (or else I ticked it already without seeing one!), but the grebe certainly was (136) - only my 4th on patch, and one that always reminds me of dipping philadelphia vireo! The day that McA turned up the Loop Head one, I balked at going! I'd been on a great roll of successful twitches for it had been a mad yankee autumn, but somehow I got convinced I'd dip! It was really daft - I had child cover, I had no big deadlines, but I didn't go. Instead I spent all afternoon in the office refreshing birdguides every five minutes and trying not to think about philadelhia vireos. In between times I went and checked the lake and saw my first great crested grebe for the patch! Vindicated! That kept me going until the first "its still showing" text came in, and then I just felt sick!
Of course I drove up and back for it 2 days later and dipped completely - twat!
Interestingly (maybe) the only other time that I get reminded of philadephia vireos is every time I wander down dirk, past the big tree where one hung about back in 1985! Its not there any more tho, its gone.