29th August. No Pies Till Shetland.

A wander round Orgreave mid-morning produced just a couple of Yellow-legged Gulls and a Common Sand which disappointed somewhat given that I'd had a rather vivid dream featuring a Pec' on the lagoon - maybe t0morrow.

Whilst staring at the TV last night I was pondering the idea of heading southwest and perhaps finally nailing a Great Shearwater but common sense prevailed and thoughts of sitting on some windswept, rain soaked headland soon vanished.

After wandering round Orgreave we paid a visit to the local pie store i.e. Morriscums and purchased a couple of excellent chunky steak pies. These will be the last pies until my forthcoming Shetland trip as my bins are starting to sit horizontally when round my neck and I really need to get into some kind of shape (other than round) for two weeks of ditch dwelling.

No more pies!

19th - 23rd August. Musical Pies

Still very quiet on the birding front with just Yellow-legged Gulls and a small flurry of Ringed Plovers on Orgreave prior to the weekend.
Thursday was the day of the U2 concert at Don Valley. Despite thinking that Bono is a twat I agreed to accompany Jo - after all it would no doubt earn me some valuable autumn birding points. As it turned out they were pretty amazing and apart from some political nonsense he came across as an alright bloke.

Somewhat of a musical weekend with our now annual trip to the V festival in Chelmsford, where apart from the musical excellence on offer I uncovered a rather excellent purveyor of quality pies.

15th August. Hoax revisted.

Having been struck down by Gastric Flu for the last few days (cue hilarious comments about verbal diarrohea) I've been unable to venture out of the house infact I've been unable to venture more than a few feet from the toilet. However during this time an amusing comment appeared on this post CLICK HERE Not only does the deluded individual claim footage of the Mystery Derbyshire Accentor he/she also claims to have posted it on You Tube. Sadly he/she hasn't provided a link so after endless hours (actually I found it in seconds) of searching I bring you the video in question. I can only assume that the recorder filmed this whilst on a diamorphine drip!

Hold on a minute isn't that bloke with the gloves on a young Brian Blanned - the plot thickens.

Incidentally should the real video appear I will smear my bollocks with pie filling and lay spread eagle on Fitful Head offering said gonads as Raven food.

12th August. TV

I've never been a fan of morning TV but I do like to catch a bit of news before venturing out into the big wide world. I tend to favour the BBC as almost everything that ITV do is shit. My argument for this was strengthened this morning when whilst watching a report on the current employment situation Jo protested that I was watching the 'serious' news and switched over to GMTV (Good Morning To Vegetables) where the screen was filled by a man wearing a Vic Reeves Big Night Out style paper bag on his head. Apparently this was a story about how women always go for good looking blokes - which is bollocks as everyone knows that women go for men with big bank balances and an appendage the size of Red Rum. This was my cue to get my coat and go to Orgreave, where a single Yellow-legged Gull graced the lagoon (I'm starting to get very bored with these).

The Only Pie in the South of France

Despite visiting various supermarkets during the course of the two weeks I managed to discover just the one pie. This unappetizing specimen was discovered lurking amongst the fresh fish section in the Geant Casino store (which incidentally is run by Nazis that don't allow ten year old's in beachwear in!). Given the seven euro price tag I decided to pass but probably would have awarded it just 3 points due to the fact the this shop was run by *bastards!

*On the whole we found the French to be very amiable.

The Camargue

There are a couple of points worth bearing in mind when visiting the Camargue. Firstly this is not like visiting a quaint little RSPB reserve in North Norfolk it is vast and there is no way that you can cover anything more than a small fraction of it in a day so I was a bit daft thinking that I could. We in fact covered just the eastern saltpans and a small area of a reedbed that was about the size of Minsmere. As it was very windy we saw diddly except for a Bonneli's Warbler around the picnic area, but the mossies enjoyed our presence. Back on the Saltpans the expected Flamingos provided some entertainment for the ladies who did not appreciate my excitement at two nearby Slender-billed Gulls feeding by the roadside (though I did later count a total of 61 off the beach car park). Waders were mostly Curlew Sandpipers with several hundred present among the more usual Med' waders and a single Little Stint.

The other point worth bearing in mind is the lack of public toilets. An emergency toilet stop over a likely looking banking led to the discovery that this was the favourite spot for the last ten years worth of visitors - though I would have loved to have met the human that deposited something that even a horse would have been proud of. My attempt to photograph the aforementioned stool was sadly thwarted by the untimely arrival of a couple of Germans who presumably wanted to use the facilities, my resulting coughing noises alerted them that the 'cubicle' was taken!

Hopefully we will get to explore the whole area and the adjacent hills and deserta at a more suitable time of year in the near future.

25th July - 7th August France

Just returned from a very relaxing fortnight in the South of France. I had no birding planned and the oppressively hot weather made it even more unlikely, so I was more than happy to indulge in some when the temperature plummeted to 30 C. The day was spent around La Crau and the eastern saltpans of the Camargue.

Not surprisingly (due to the heat and timing) we failed to find any Little Bustard or Sandgrouse at La Crau but did see almost a dozen Rollers and many Stone Curlew.