When it turned up the other day, I was amongst the first to know. At work, I suffered as I posted out the report knowing full well I wasn't going to get there till later in the day. When the time came the 3rd county record of this rare race had, as is often the case, melted away. I passed the site a day later with boisterous children in the knowledge that they and the camouflaged contingent present would be a bad mix.
So five minutes before the school run today when the Black-headed Wagtail reappeared on Birdguides, after having read Mark Newsome's fair but firm assessment of why you should see this bird despite it's lack of 'tickability', drooled over John's pictures and Stewart's impression of Edward Scissorhands (and no you look nothing like Johnny Depp!) bigging up the credentials of this one as genuine and offering alternatives to the hint of a possible genetic imperfection I caved in. Look even Stringer twitched this one so it must be good to come between him and another day on the patch.
So straight from school I headed to Cresswell and abandoned the kids in the car park with the Iphone and a pile of books. Looking less than positive with one south tyneside birder lounging against the rail and a group of four casually heading west over the causeway. I asked the usual question of the lounging birder and got that most dreaded of responses 'it was just here twenty minutes ago'. The northerly gust filled the silence for some seconds after.
With the group of casuals now stopped at the west end of the causeway and looking with apparent intent I lifted the bins to see Black-headed Wagtail strolling in gay abandon with a group of several Yellow Wags. Quick check with the nearby conveniently abandoned scope (Maurice - Ta) and a stroll across the causeway brought further better, if again borrowed, scope views (Tim Cleeves - thanks) of the Black-headed with supporting cast of Blue-headed 'Channel type' Wagtail in the northwest corner feeding on water edge debris.