For some reason, and on a complete whim, I have decided to nominate for each Hornet's Nest report, a 'Bird of the Day'.
And I thought I had found my first winner as I opened the window of the hide overlooking the scrape at Leam Valley nature reserve this morning, and latched straight on to a Grey Wagtail picking its way around the margins.
Hardly an outstanding find by the standards of any self-respecting birder, but it pleased me mightily. For one thing, it is a pretty thing. Second, I have often sat in the same spot and seen bugger all for hours on end. And third, it might not be rare, but it's uncommon enough around here to brighten up any November morning.
So hardly surprising that I found myself thinking: "That'll be my bird of the day." And perhaps hardly surprising that I was (once again) wrong.
For as I wondered up to the other end of the water, setting off on my journey home, what fled from the edge-side rushes but the unmistakeable shape and colours of a male Teal, accompanied by a female. Now, once again this is a common enough bird. And again, it is very pleasing on the eye. But what confirms the Teal as my bird of the day is that I have never seen one before on my entire patch! It seems incredible, unlikely and weird, but I have checked and double-checked my records - this was a patch first.
So hats off to the Teal, my very first Bird of the Day (with honorable mentions to the Grey Wagtail, a Kingfisher, and the flocks of Redwing and Fieldfare that erupted around me as I walked.)