"Dedication, dedication, dedication that's what yer need..." was what the late Roy Castle would sing just before he'd get down on his knee and do that Al Johnson bit "if you wanna be a record breaker... yeah" Even at nine years old I was a cynical bastard and would shout back (admittedly in my head) "bollocks, the best way to break a record is to come up with something that no sane person on earth would think of like err how many black jelly babies can you shove up your arse!
So the point of the last paragraph (apart from perhaps the chance to get a few weak laughs) was that today I broke a record and just like some of those freaks on Record Breakers I too made it up. Today I broke my Orgreave self-found year list record - woo hoo. Last year I managed a total of 120 species - now lets not get too excited I could have a good day out in Norfolk and beat that. But lets put it into context, Orgreave is a barren wasteland stuck next to the M1 slap bang between Sheffield and Rotherham and more famous for it's rioting miners than birding. I thought that I'd had a good year last year and had settled for equalling this year at best, so to beat it before August was surprising to say the least.
So at 6 this morning, when scanning the gulls at the northern shore of the large lake I picked up a flock of roosting terns. Aware of several parties of Arctic Terns in the Midlands over the last few days I set up the scope and sure enough was faced with not only the 120th species this year but also a site tick a total of 15 Arctics. They didn't stay long but treated me to a close flypast before heading northwest - though a couple did return. An adult Yellow-legged Gull was again present along with a juvenile. A return visit this evening produced species 121 with 3 imm/fem Common Scoters and one of the Arctic Terns. I've a feeling this autumns going to be a good one.
So back to Roys opening line. I suppose, if I hadn't got the dedication that I've had this year I'd still be chasing that target - now where did I put those Jelly Babies.