As you will likely have surmised from my complete silence, my complete lack of shouting from rooftops, this Tuesday I did not in fact find the year's first local Wheatear. I did go out, and pleasingly I was not alone in my search. For instance as I was heading out I met Bob on his way home. Clearly he had been looking for Wheatears from first light, very decent of him. Later on I met Rob who had carefully scanned a few choice areas with no luck, and then Tim who was diligently checking the new fenced area for
We all returned empty-handed. Wednesday was one of Tim's days, so I went out to help him look. A lovely north-westerly was blowing :-). Thursday was Bob's first day. By 8am he was looking at Owls in the copses which was a very good sign and I figured my help wasn't necessary. Today was his second day, and to tell the truth I was a little concerned - there had been rain overnight and the sun was out, one of those early short sleeves days. Happily, sorry I mean sadly, by mid morning he was looking at ducks and pulled a lovely wintery Wigeon out of the bag. Another blank day and he will now have to wait until next year for another shot at the title.
Which brings me to tomorrow. My second day and my last chance to retain the fabulous golden chalice. In truth I am not feeling very positive about it, the weather just feels wrong and the wind does not become favourable until the middle of next week. But some birds just ignore all that, and with every day that passes yet more of them make it to these shores. Could one of them press on against the odds and find itself on Wanstead Flats tomorrow morning? As an incentive we have just installed 249 new Wheatear perches around the rough grassland. And of course tomorrow is Saturday and lots of people will be out looking. All of them will have a single search image in mind.