A male Northern Wheatear (Russell F Spencer)I'm sitting here in an airport lounge at Aberdeen Airport on my way to Shetland - a mythical destination that I have never been to before but have always lusted after since my monstrous Dixon's 10 x 50 wielding days. The sky is a glorious blue. Thank good that Aberdeen is also experiencing the recent tropical weather that the rest of Britain has been basking in.
A couple of days ago I spent an interesting afternoon at Wormwood Scrubs, my patch. The sun was beating down and seeing as I was to have a radio interview on site later in the afternoon I decided to spend an hour sitting on an anthill in the grassland scanning for passing raptors. Well, despite my best efforts I managed one Sparrowhawk, a couple of Cormorants and a host of Herring & Lesser Black-back Gulls. Scanning the grassland I noticed that a topless man was reclining in the grass around 200 yards away. This would have been fine had it not been that he had chosen to sunbath in the protected area for ground nesting birds. Riled I got up and started to approach the guy. But instead of making a direct beeline across the grassland and potentially disturbing the very birds that I was about to berate him about, I decided to take the long way round to him by using the path.
I must have walked 10 yards when I noticed a handsome male Northern Wheatear strolling away from me on the same path. What an absolutely gorgeous bird it was. My statistical mind started to whirr. Was this the latest bird ever at The Scrubs? I suddenly realised that it was. The previous latest was recorded on the 20th May 2008. I marvelled at its finery as it flew on top of a nearby Blackthorn. Time ran away with me. I suddenly remembered the reason for my ramble and simultaniously also realised that it was time to meet the reporter. The topless man got away with being topless in the wrong place.
But I'll get him next time!