29th April. Foggy

No sign of Orgreave Lagoons in an extensive search of the area early morning!

Looking at another dodgy photo of yesterdays duck (here) it appears that as the day went on it became a much smarter looking bird than the bedraggled thing in my photo. Unfortunately due to having my wallet extracted, with the total repair bill around £230, I didn't really feel like venturing out last night.

Another shot of the offending bump

28th April. Buggeration

Running a bit late this morning and coupled with the heavy rain I decided to check Orgreave from the old Treeton Workshops site, which is even further away but gives a more panoramic view. A quick scan of the edge revealed no notable waders but a scan of the water revealed a unusual looking blob that looked like a Long-tailed Duck. On scoping it in the now heavier rain I was convinced that that was exactly what it was so decided to head for the footbridge for better views. Unfortunately on approaching the bridge area a loud bang emitted from under the car suggesting that all was not well. I got out, got better views of the Long-tailed and then checked the car. It became apparent that the front suspension spring had given up the ghost (another reason to stay off the pies) and that the car was going nowhere - buggeration. Fortunately the rain stopped and I managed to get some nearly record shots whilst waiting for the car to be recovered.

With the benefit of hindsight this is clearly a drake - fool!

Miles away

Beware the big bump

26th April. Ground Hog Day

Same old same old really. Went to Orgreave saw a few waders (LRP, Ringed Plover and Dunlin). Walked round Treeton saw warblers various and dreamed about finding a Hoopoe or a Short-toed Lark on the bits of bare stony ground (I find it keeps up morale) and hoped that one of the 11 Whiskered Terns in Derbyshire might stray my way - non of which happened, but next time.

Late afternoon Jo and I had a walk round Pit-house West and RV. At Pit-house West the only birds of note were two new in Reed Warblers, though a big pile of fresh presumably Long-eared Owl pellets were an encouraging sign of nearby nesting activity.

A couple of fresh pellets

Which not surprisingly contained a few of these.

The distant bass beat suggested that RV was still overrun with Chav types so we headed for a lap of the Reserve where we saw nothing of any interest. The Main Lake was no better and some areas gave the suggestion of a post apocalyptic scene - why do some people find it so difficult to dispose of their litter in the correct manner.

If I don't have a change of scenery soon I may go mad.

24th April. Ripping Yarn

Taking advantage of SCC's flexible turn up when you like system I had a day off. Due to school commitments I couldn't get out as early as I'd liked but nonetheless I arrived at Orgreave before nine and managed 3 Whimbrel. With renewed enthusiasm I stuck it out for another hour seeing just a Common Tern and hearing at least 3 Groppers (is it me or does it seem a bit of a Gropper year).
Hubble Telescope image of 2 of the 3 Whimbrel (just wait until the Little Stints start coming through)

A shopping trip to Asda almost ended in disaster in the bread isle, when reaching down for some wholemeal an embarrassing trouser ripping incident occurred. Fortunately I had decided against going commando! Needless to say I am now firmly on 'the wagon' as far as pies are concerned.

23rd April. Pies in the woods

Another early morning trip to Orgreave proved that the currently fine weather was proving poor for locally scarce stuff with only a handful of Little Ringed Plovers and a couple of Ringed Plover, though Grasshopper Warblers had now increased to two.

Being fortunate enough to be out on site in the fine weather I called in to Morrisons for a couple of pies. Choosing a Hot Pot Pie and a Balti Pie I settled on a bench in nearby Wooley Woods and scoffed said pies whilst admiring the Bluebells and failing to see any Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers. The Balti Pie was surprisingly tasty (7/10) though the Hot Pot (4/10) was somewhat bland a bit like this posting.

22nd April. National Pie Awards

Yet again I appear to have missed an important event in the pie calendar. Namely the British Pie Awards in Melton . It was good to see that the winner of the Savoury Pie Category, AJLeermont , from Jedburgh, seeing as our Scottish friends have a natural flare for all things savoury and do not fear saturated fats like us south of the border. I was a little disappointed that there was no mention of Lasagne Pies - surely it is time for our nation to embrace this multicultural delicacy.
The elitist category of Melton Mowbray Pie is only open to entrants from the Leicestershire area which is just as well because as pies go they're pretty bland and tasteless (feel free to send me samples to prove me wrong). Maybe next year I will enter myself, though not in the asexual sense.

As far as birding goes it's been pretty quiet round these parts since the winds changed and the sun came out with just a noticeable increase of common migrants particularly Willow Warblers.

Up North Rob seems to have embarrassed himself by finding potentially Britain's first Wood Duck - not quite the first for Britain he had hoped for! The list master has given it a ringing (should that be unringed) endorsement despite apparently not paying it a visit though at least one high profile local will be hoping otherwise.

18th April. Back to Normal.

Despite having to wait in briefly for a Bra delivery, that never turned up I managed a decent mornings birding.

Orgreave gave me two year ticks namely Dunlin! and Whaeater, with a couple of Shelduck, 2 Ringed Plover an Oystercatcher and 2 White Wagtails. The nearby Gropper gave itself up briefly and amazingly the only photo I took actually wasn't too bad.

With almost everywhere seemingly having Little Gulls and Arctic Terns a walk round Treeton Dyke seemed to make sense. In reality it made no sense at all as the only bird of note was a Lesser Whitethroat.

Bole Hill and Blue Mans Bower were equally poor with another 2 Lesser Whitethroat. By now my enthusiasm had wained so I went home to make some pies.

Pork, Stuffing and Apple

So there you have it a decent session birding and ending the day with some nice homemade pies - situation normal.

15th April. Egret

For as long as I've been working I've longed for a patch that I could watch on my way to work without taking a detour. Orgreave is almost perfect, apart from the distance problem, and is really starting to come up with the goods. Another misty start this morning almost had me driving straight past, but that would have made me early for work so I had a look anyway and picked up a splendid Little Egret on the far bank. After 5 minutes it had had enough of the constant attention from a couple of Carrion Crows and left west. An Oystercatcher there was also a patch tick.

Women know your place.

With all the troubles in this world perhaps it's time to return to the household values that we held dear in the 1950's.

13th April. Mist and murk

A murky couple of hours early doors. Blue-mans Bower proved fruitless and the dream I had involving a Red-rumped Swallow failed to transpire - infact there were no hirundines at all!

A lovely horse

Under the M1 bridge was no better with just a couple of Willow Warblers being drowned out by the M1 traffic.

The rest of the day was spent at the National Mining Museum educating Beth and trying in vain to turn Jo against Thatcher.

12th April. At last

Another early start involved visits to Pit-house West, Treeton Dyke and Orgreave. No surprises even more Willow Warblers and a Whitethroat at Treeton with just 6 Goosander and a Ringed Plover at Orgreave.

At last we've finished the bloody kitchen. We originally planned on doing it in May - MAY !!! So with that out of the way normal service will resume i.e. sarcasm, cynicism and general bird/pie related nonsense etc.

After. Now much improved I think you'll agree

11th April. Coal

Determined to do some birding this weekend Jo and I did a lap of Pit-house West early doors. Nothing of note just lots of Chiffchaffs, Willow Warblers and a flock of 60 Redpolls. With half an hour to spare I decided to have a quick look on the Orgreave Opencast where a splendid adult Kittiwake had mistook the shale and murk for the North Sea.

Another quality image from Orgreave.

"Dad What's Coal"

When I started birding the Rother Valley back in the early Eighties you couldn't move for the black stuff so imagine my sadness when Beth asked me, this morning, what Coal was! Not the true definition as in millions of years of compressed ancient wood etc etc but what is coal. Sadly I had to compare it with the nearest thing on hand which were the artificial coals on the fire - sadly this might be the nearest she ever comes to seeing the stuff that made this country great.

For the benefit of younger readers (or Reeders)