Is there any justice in the world? 30 years _ 30 bloody years _ of watching Marshside as my local patch and does the great grey shrike reveal itself to me?
It does not.
Instead the second record for the reserve chose to disport itself chasing dragonflies in front of the Sandgrounders hide for the benefit of a coach trip of birders from Derby...
"Do great grey shrikes winter here?" was the question warden Graham Clarkson was least expecting to hear on the 15th, but sure enough the visitor from Derbyshire was watching the shrike zipping about after insects _ amazing.
Graham had the bird, as did Barry McCarthy, who saw it fly over his head at the corner of Marshside Road before disappearing into the vegetation and scrub along the Marshside One bank.
Despite searching the bushes for it that afternoon, I couldn't find the shrike again _ such is birding....
Derbyshire 1 Dempsey 0.
With easterlies continuing today there's a good chance of more quality birds, after Lapland Buntings arriving aplenty yesterday _ Hilbre, Great Orme and Anglesey all scored.
But with a ferocious 40th birthday party on Saturday (why is it my friends seem to party harder as they get older? Happy Birthday Neil), I was in no shape to pursue the Paddyfield Warbler near Dunbar on Sunday.
All I could manage was to stew over the shrike and watch the first 380+ Whoopers at Martin Mere.
Never mind, the big one is just around the corner...
Mike Dinsmore from New Brighton called this morning to report a dark phase Arctic Skua over New Brighton marine lake yesterday.
The bird appeared to pick something off the surface of the water before moving on.
No boats today to Bardsey...but the Blyth's Pipit is still there, as is Red Throated Pipit and a host of other goodies....
Eyes to the skies everyone, eyes to the skies.