First of all let me say I am NOT a twitcher, work had dragged my partner down to Cambridgeshire and I hitched along for the ride in hopes of maybe ticking off a very special bird indeed - an inland Leach's Storm Petrel.
The story is covered here by timesonline, but briefly speaking the terrible and persistent southerly gales Britain has suffered in the past week have brought north great numbers of Leach's Storm Petrel that would otherwise be safely wintering in calmer, warmer areas of the Atlantic.
Most are turning up on the south and west coasts, areas like Morecambe and Cardiff Bay, but others are being blown further inland. Areas like Cambridgeshire, Derbyshire, even London. So if you've been at all nearby a recorded sighting, it's a chance not to be missed.
Alas, according to birdguides.com, the petrels had either gone or all died by the time we arrived at Grafham Water (where they'd been well reported earlier in the day), all there was were us and several other wet and disappointed birders. At least there is some solace in not seeing a species that wasn't there, rather than not seeing one that was.
The best bird of the day, a couple of flattered Goldeneye probably wondering what all the fuss was about.
Much worse luck for the petrels of course, once inland they seem terminally doomed. Even if they find a large body of water, it's fresh water and there just isn't the marine food for birds already tired, cold and wind battered. Sad really.
The gales still blow, so there's still a chance they could turn up almost anywhere in the UK.
This might be a once in ten or twenty year event.