Having had only three full days together since last September I kind of envisaged I wasn't going to get a full pass out for the whole weekend from my long suffering wife. First Saturday in god knows how long free so we opted for the Newcastle RSPB group's 40th Anniversary bash at Rising Sun Country Park for a family trip.
With a few hundred people passing through during the day (according to one of the volunteers) birds were a little thin on the ground and consisted of distant views of some terns (Common) over at Swallow Pond and two Carrion Crow on the recycling bins as we drove out.
However my Homo Sapien List took a big hit with four year ticks, one of which was a lifer. After parting company with several pounds for a single raffle ticket and two wildlife badges for Joel (Snowy Owl and Badger) in rapid succession I finally spotted a familiar face strolling across the lawn in the form of Mike Hodgson, accompanied by another birder half his age who turned out to be Chris Knox with whom I have emailed but never met.
A quick reccy in the hall after tea produced another two year ticks in Martin Kitching and Sarah Barrat who had been promoting NEWT all afternoon. MK recounted his recent meeting with a Badger that nearly saw him inducted into the Badger Hall of Fame.
A thoroughly pleasant afternoon, a gradual reintroduction back into normality and a few cheerful like minded faces in the process, life is good.