It takes commendably large cohones to admit you've got a bird wrong, especially when it's a rare one, but that's just what Mad Dog Bannon did today when he called me 45 minutes before my shift was due to end, with news of a runt Skylark leading him astray (see John's comment on previous entry).
I completely sympathise - long time readers of the blog will remember I fell foul of just such a lark on Marshside One some years ago, and frankly anyone who thinks they never get a bird wrong is living in major denial.
Mad Dog called me fresh from a bout of what some folk quaintly term "trespassing" on a private golf club in our area.
For the sake of argument, let's call it "Xanadu", where he'd had four Spotted Flycatchers and a Pied Fly after the heavy rain.
I tazzed up there for about 5pm, with the wind strengthening.
Now there are two ways to "trespass" on a golf course - one is to reduce the size of your kharma to zero and move like a greased khaki panther, avoiding fairways and golfers, becoming a ninja birder, invisible to all but the most zealous green-keeper.
The other is to drop your trousers and stride boldly across the manicured turf, loudly singing "Firestarter" by The Prodigy.
While I generally favour the former, I guarantee that if you adopt the latter strategy, no-one will challenge you (they won't have to, they'll just call the men in white coats - but if you're lucky, you'll have seen the birds before those guys arrive).
Anyway, I sneaked into the central copse pantalone intacto, and almost immediately bumped into three lovely Spotted Flycatchers, zipping around a sheltered glade, surrounded by the usual Blackcaps, Chiffies, Willow Warblers, Jays, Long Tailed Tits and Chaffinches.
Great birds, but sad to think how scarce Spot Flys have become around here, it wasn't that long ago that they were a regular breeding species, now they can spark a micro-twitch.
Checked a few other areas in the lee of the wind, but it was quiet, apart from Willow Warblers etc.
Marshside One was buzzing with hirundines as the temperature began to drop, and I walked back to Hesketh Road.
Lapwings and Avocets flew up to mob and shriek at any corvid.
Earlier in the day I'd spent an hour or two on a Great Crested Newt survey - no sign of the mini-dinosaurs, but some cracking young Smooth Newts and an encouraging amount of dragonfly nymphs and exuvae.
I'm a bit rusty on dragonfly nymphs, but I suspect the brute above is an Emperor, based largely on its size and annoying bitey-bitey tendencies.
Damselfly nymphs are far nicer.
My first Cuckoo of the year flew across the road at the Pontins Roundabout at Ainsdale around 1230, dropping out of sight into Ainsdale LNR, and at Weld Road in the early afternoon three splendid male Greenland Wheatears (sorry Mad Dog, but I think the Alaskan birds fly direct across the Atlantic from Iberia), were joined by two females and a White Wagtail.
Then, quite wonderfully, enough Natterjacks cranked up and started singing near the Weld Road car park for them to be audible 400m to the north, despite the wind and traffic.
Eyes to the skies everyone, eyes to the skies...