Question: Just how many years have I been wobbling out onto the marsh on raw, misty November days designed specifically by the weather gods to bring you down?
Answer: Far too many (actually, and terrifyingly, 39, and I've still learnt nothing).
Yup, Marshside was murky evocative and following the all too familiar pattern of early winter when I wandered out into the Sandplant Compound an hour or so before the tide today, with Skylarks, Mipits, Reed Bunts, Goldfinches and Gringoes in the air over the rubble, largely down to the encroaching tide and the presence of a cheeky Merlin and a distant Peregrine on the out marsh.
Plenty of Little Egrets about, but not too many Pinkies, perhaps a few hundred, until they began floating off the mosses in hordes later in the afternoon.
A distant Whooper was on the tide's edge, and amongst the infinite lines of Cormorants, a single Common Scoter flew north up the estuary.
Snipe, Goldies, Blackwits, Lapwings and Redshanks about the creeks and on Marshside One and Two, with Water Rail squealing away beside the Sandgrounders Hide.
Made it up to Crossens Outer an hour or so after the tide receded, only to learn I'd missed a flyover Lapland Bunt by 30 mins.
Luckily the Great White Blob was present to make up for that particular bit of pain, attempting to imitate a fence post about two million miles away on the out marsh, and making a very poor job of it too.
Be still my beating heart.
It flew even further away a short time later, although NASA kindly texted to say they could still just about pick it up at 1400 hours, deep inside of the Fylde/Van Allen Belt.
A Grey Wag was feeding around the cattle culverts, with Pied Wags and a few flocks of Golden Plover dropped in to join the wildfowl and waders.
Eyes to the skies everyone, eyes to the skies...