Now is the time that birders feel the sap rising - it's early spring and the migrants are coming back.
Sadly, while other birders were enjoying untold riches elsewhere, I was confined to a couple of hours at my local reserve, Leam Valley on the edge of Leamington Spa. Sadly because for the first hour or so, my return migrants were confined to a couple of (heard only) Chiffchaffs - until things picked up a little.
The first sign of an upturn was what appeared to be a female Pochard - nothing unusual you might think, except I've never seen one of these diving ducks on the shallow waters of Leam Valley scrape before. A patch tick in fact.
Even more excitement followed as I sat and waited for this sonambulent bird to confirm its identity by lifting its head - in flew two Sand Martins. Famously early returners, these were my first real signs of spring. They did a couple of circuits over the shallow pool, caught a couple of insect, and were gone.
Another patch first, and something to stir the blood for the month ahead. Not bad for 90 minutes local birding.