Rex Cinema in Wareham. This was the centrepiece of the Purbeck Film Festival which my wife has been helping to organise as a volunteer, so there was a three-line whip on attendance. With the working week complete and a highly successful event concluded I felt that both professional and family honour had been satisfied, and I could start thinking more selfishly about twitching the Accentor on Sunday morning.
Grey Phalarope in Portland Harbour. Chris had heard that I was thinking of travelling and was interested in sharing a lift, a request I was delighted to accommodate. This was my third long distance twitch this year with a fellow dad, and we were able to while away the hours comparing notes on just how much trouble we would be in with our respective spouses when we got home.
Great Snipe. 'Sorry about that', its owner said kindly but unnecessarily when I reminded him of this earlier less successful visit to Spurn, but all was forgiven already.
And so it came to be that, a week after the first Siberian Accentor for Britain was found on Shetland, I was watching the second in Yorkshire, the third having turned up the day before in Durham - and while we were watching the second, the fourth arrived in Sunderland! Before I had time to write this post the fifth had been discovered in Northumberland, and it seems quite possible that there will be more in the days and weeks to come. Those who measure rarity value in terms of exclusivity may regard this multiple arrival as 'devaluing' that pioneer from Shetland. Those who appreciate migration in a broader context may feel it does the opposite - an unprecedented natural phenomenon arising from some extraordinary weather patterns, producing a more poetic series of occurrences compared to the appearance of a lone vagrant which, for all we know, may have hitched a ride on a passing ship.
While we would have liked to spend more time at Spurn, after a close encounter with a Shorelark(more on that in a later post) and a half-hearted search for a Radde's Warbler, the rapidly deteriorating weather and collective guilt complex caused us to head for home to pick up the pieces of those shattered brownie point jars. I was back in time to take my son to his afternoon swimming class and cook the Sunday roast as a peace offering to the rest of the family: I may be a deadbeat dad, but I make a mean Yorkshire pudding. I served the soft, puffy confection (which came out exactly the same colour as a Siberian Accentor's breast) to my grateful offspring, and the healing process had begun.