After May being such a disappointment, I didn't hold out much hope for June providing anything better. But how wrong could I be!!
Early on the 6th a female White-throated Robin was found at Hartlepool Headland, Cleveland and so with 30 minutes I was bombing up the motorways. It had suddenly become elusive on arrival and so it wasn't until late afternoon that it appeared in the 'Doctor's Garden' where all the excitement begun. In the process of climbing the 10ft garden wall, I managed to cover myself in black burglar grease but thankfully managed a five minute session watching the bird sunning itself in a garden border.To get up to Cleveland that day I had to cancel work and agreed to work a double shift later that week. I was understandably completely shattered come Friday, and so while cutting some short bars with a circular saw at work I managed to do this:Needless to say, I needed an operation which involved a skin graft, but luckily I missed cutting right thru the tendon and bone. I was in bandages for a good month, and required several weeks worth of therapy afterwards. Obviously I was unable to drive. Which seriously messed me up with Britain's first American White-winged Scoter (form Deglandi) that was found off Blackdog, Aberdeenshire. Usually I would have gone straight away but had to wait till the following weekend for lifts with Dan Houghton and Richard Bonser (who is a driving machine!!). On the 18th the bird was elusive in poor visibility but seen on several occasions amongst the mass of Scoter and Eider. At least 2 drake Surf Scoters were in the same flock too. Further up the coast was an adult drake King Eider on the Ythan that was far more obliging. Hampshire highlights were few and far between but included a 1st summer Caspian Gull at Lower Test Marshes (2nd) and Honey Buzzard, Quail, Turtle Dove and Long-eared Owl at various undisclosed sites throughout the month.