When I was a child in deepest Lancashire, in a place called Penwortham, we had a neighbour called Nellie Ashcroft and if she heard anything that really shocked her she would say: ''Well, I'll go to the foot of our stairs!'' Another of her sayings was, of someone who'd been a bit cheeky in pushing to get his own way: ''He were as hard-faced as a barn rat.''
Well, I've had a ''foot of our stairs week'' culminating in a short trip this afternoon - of which more shortly...
I'd never been to Ossett. In fact apart from being in West Yorkshire I wasn't exactly sure where it was. Or is. It's still there. I managed an afternoon drive out to Holy Trinity church, Ossett to look for a black redstart. Finding it was instant. Getting it to sit still was entirely another matter!
On the church roof.
I headed up north to Druridge Bay country park to look at the pacific diver. I saw the first at Farnham near Knaresborough in 2007 after leaving school and looking through another birder's scope wearing my suit surrounded by all the birders in their grunge apparel. This time I was appropriately grunged. The bird was easily seen from the visitor centre but it was a very long way away. I walked round to the other side of Ladyburn Lake where I knew the light would be challenging but I hoped to be a good bit closer to the bird [if it stayed where it was!]. The effect on the light was dramatic as I shot into the sun. All the pictures have been heavily cropped but I am still impressed with what the camera and lens can achieve. Here's a full frame uncropped view first. Same photo cropped.
Walking back I spotted a birder waiting patiently for the bird to come closer.
Sheila and I went to Cleethorpes to see a slavonian grebe at Cleethorpes country park. It was unbelievably cold! The bird was soon located. Say no more!
Coming back from a quick visit to Tesco Sheila said I'd better look at the pager. Pine bunting from footpath off Kerver Lane, Dunnington. And so I went. I didn't need to be as hard faced as a barn rat to push through the throng of scopes and overweight birders. Only Chris Gomersall was there. As I drew level he said: ''Look in there!'' Pine bunting top of trees. Shortly after digiscoped by CG and now on twitter. Teacosybobcap [me] included in the tweets. A privileged moment for me. Two lifers in six days and one so close to home!
It soon flew off. Birds do that.