Tuesday mornings involve little more than an indoor play centre, quite nice as indoor play centres go and they have an internet connection that allows me to work a little whilst the kids give off more energy than a corona from a power cable. Towards the end of this morning's session the phone moved in my pocket and let off a noise. It makes lots of different noises and I'm still learning to identify them and tell the difference between a Facebook message and a text or an appointment alarm and an email. After fumbling about there was a text on screen, that hit me in the pit of my stomach, "Two Alpine Swifts over the Aln Estuary....." that would be the Aln estuary that was 100m from my old business, the one that I spent six days a week at for the best part of six years until it was sold in June 2009.
Paul Massey who is on a bit of a run this year after also finding the Druridge Green-winged Teal was at the other end of the phone watching them as they drifted north over Hipsburn. Twenty minutes later with kids now suitably sedated in the back of the car and a speechless ADMc in the passenger seat after a Lance Armstrong-like effort to rendezvous at my house from Ashington we were off.
And I'm afraid that's it, not a sniff of a scythed wing and the only white belly was peeping out from under my t-shirt as it flapped in the breeze. Not surprising as they are the epitomy of that over-used birder speak 'mobile'. Nine Common Buzzard across the Alnwick/Longhoughton skyline and the odd Sparrowhawk were dismissed lightly. Further pressure was added to the double grip later as Nigel F repeated his Great Grey Shrike find of last year in Harwood, I sulked the afternoon away with the phone out of view and on charge, better days are ahead.