April 30th 2009 - what a brill day ! A 3am start saw Ed Taylor and I at Dungeness Bird Observatory just after dawn, the 'thumbs up' from Franco indicated the Crested Lark was still present. Twenty minutes later it was flying all over the place and then finally gave itself up on the deck. Although this is a common species in Europe and occurs just across the Channel in northern France it stubbornly refuses to turn up with any degree of frequency in the UK. What made this bird even more special was that I had missed the last one in 1996 by just 15 seconds, the time it took to get out of the car and join the other birders to be precise, it flew over a wall and was never relocated. The bitter disappointment had just been lifted !
The real icing on the cake was to be provided by another Bird Observatory - for so long the centres of migrational excellence, this time at Portland Bill in Dorset where a stonking male Collared Flycatcher had taken up temporary residence in a small garden with beautiful blossoming apple trees. More at home in a damp eastern European woodland this splendid bird provided the near mythical delight of a 'two-tick' day !