I was out on the Flats again this morning, more in hope than expectation, and as I approached the Coronation Plantation, I thought I saw a white flash through the trees. Then another! I called the news out to local birders, and then the pager, and then started looking for them. At this point I wondered if I hadn't done all that in the wrong order, as all I could see were two Skylarks. Had my Wheatear-addled brain somehow contrived to string their white outer tail feathers into white rumps? A nervous few minutes followed. Then a few more, they were nowhere to be seen! NB This is my attempt at dramatic technique. I'm not sure it's working, so you'll just have to take my word for quite how exciting it was. And anyway, I probably blew it by posting a photo before this paragraph. So, as you may have grasped, it was all OK in the end, there were indeed two Wheatears, though they unhelpfully vanished again before Paul and Stuart turned up. Not for long though, and soon they were showing very well on the old Barrage Balloon hitches.
I can't really put into words quite how happy I am. It is a mixture of elation and relief I think. Finally, they're back. Only stopping off of course, but to see them here at this time of year is somehow life-affirming. Many things change, not too many things are certain, but the return of spring Wheatears is one constant that I can always look forward to. I might have a lie-in tomorrow.
And one more....