As my working day was drawing to an end, I was thinking I should go and have another crack at the Lesser Pecker at my local Stockers Lake on my way home. Then I got a text from Sharpy saying he had found a Wheatear at Woodoaks Farm Maple Cross. As this was also just down the road from home and a more likely year tick I plumped for this option. I rocked up at Woodoaks and was soon on a treeful of Yellowhammers.
A couple of males were going on about cheese sandwiches signaling the arrival of Spring. My first Brimstone butterfly of the year was confirmation of this. I pressed on and scanned the dung heap but no sign of the Wheatear. I walked a bit further and as I rounded the bend in the path there it was.
As I was enjoying the company of this early migrant, I got another text from Sharpy. He was at Stockers and on the Lesser Spot. I hot footed it back to the van and hooked up with Sharpy within 15 mins. The pecker had disappeared and didn't reappear. As I drove home it dawned on me what had happened. Obviously, Sharpy had got a tip off that the Pecker showed well but briefly on its favoured branch at 4.15pm everyday. To make sure I wasn't there he planted a Wheatear at Woodoaks and clipped it's wings to make sure it stayed. He knew I wouldn't be able to resist an early year tick on my local patch, enabling him to grip me off on the prized bird. With friends like that......
Just in case anyone's taking me serious - please don't - its known as the Green Eyed Monster.