When I started PWC back in 2013, I had thought 140 species in a year was a reasonable target for my patch at Collingham and Besthorpe; my birding activities there are by no means comprehensive, and I know stuff gets through that I don’t get to see (Redstart and Med Gull so far this year, for example). However, I have struggled to hit that target – I bagged 136 species in 2013, 135 in 2014 and a tantalising 139 in 2015.
However, with five months to go, a Wood Sandpiper on Mons Pool on Tuesday finally brought up the 140 mark. Furthermore, an above-average run of 2-pointers this year (and a 4 point Glossy Ibis) has also helped me reach 169 points, surpassing my previous record tally of 167 logged in 2013 (which was achieved with the aid of a 12 point Pied Wheatear) – a total I never thought I’d surpass.
And why was the Wood Sand expensive? Well, first of all, it took me two visits - there was no sign of it on Mons Pool when I first looked in the early evening, although an adult Yellow-legged Gull was some modest compensation. However, the real expense came on my second visit, later in the evening, after Mark Dawson had called to say the Wood Sand was showing. In my excitement, having seen the bird, I managed to lock my keys in my car upon getting back to the carpark – in slow motion I saw them nestling on the top of my bag, as I slammed the boot... Oh ****. The AA couldn’t open the car (it was deadlocked), the spare key was nowhere to be found at home, and being as it was now 10pm, a locksmith couldn’t come out until the following day.
Not wanting to leave the car overnight with my scope and camera etc. unattended, the AA man passed me a hammer and I smashed the passenger window (strangely satisfying) and retrieved the keys. Being honest, I decided I wouldn’t be claiming on my insurance when I phoned Auto Glass. But when they quoted me a price of £319 to replace (you what?!?) this didn’t look like such a clever idea. However, National Windscreens came in at a much more reasonable £129.
Still rather a lot to pay for a Wood Sandpiper on the patch, even if it does get me to 140...