The first of three consecutive daily sessions on a stillwater, concentrating on continual baiting of one swim. The swim no one wants, but today there could be a twist.
Yesterday on Birdguides, the serious birders sightings news app., a bearded tit, no doubt on passage migration back to breeding grounds east of the midlands, was posted and mentally noted by yours truly.
Now only once have bearded tits graced the eyes and ears with their beauty and twanging, and that was on a very rare visit to a proper bird reserve in Norfolk some decades ago. Not tits at all of course but we British do like to rename things to suit ourselves don't we? Which reminds me, I just get some Bombay mix on the way home.
They are in fact the only British representative of the parrotbill family and they tend to frequent marginal reeds and little else. Plenty here.
After a quick chat about prospects of tench with a friend who had started early, and had one already, the decision was made to bait the chosen, otherwise neglected, swim and then seek out the bird before settling-in for some fishing and to make my usual general list of birds now to be found under the "The FLIGHT bit" tab above.
The trot round the lake produce the embryo list topped, at that point, by a chattering lesser whitethroat.
The north east wind was still quite light but enough to make one walk that little bit more briskly to resist the bone freezing effects that were to afflict me the following day when the optimism in the number of clothing layers proved my undoing.
A flush common sandpiper, always a welcome sight in these parts, followed by a second brightened the journey as I approached a likely reedbed I stopped to remind myself of the sound they make via the infernal gadgetry and no sooner had I started than the target bird was flying toward me to defend itself, my face now the target. As I fumbled to stop the noise my panic make me do everything other than achieve the result until eventual composure got the better of the situation and relative silence descended.
The glorious male beardy now looked on, quietly quizzical and lingered while record photos were taken on the same gadgetry.
A prime example of why bird song recordings should not be used to find them. The bird temporarily distracted from its instinctive routine exposed to predation and subject to a perceived intruding male when, in fact, it was likely the only one there. Suitably embarrassed I was.
...and the day hadn't started yet!
Returning to my perch, in two senses as it turned-out, the angling day gradually came to life but never frantically, just a steady trickle of fish to maggot feeder-tempted entrapment. The two potential prizes of which, presumed tench, got the upper hand; one to a submerged snag and another to a weak spot on the line probably due to chafing on the rocky bank.
Meanwhile Little George had visited on a detour from his walk, his head straight under my seat and nose straight in, chomping on the groundbait! A "No you don't", and a hoik of the collar and he was turned back up the bank to his apologetic master. Little bugger.
Come mid-afternoon however the bizarre succession of perch around the one pound mark was interrupted by a solid weight on the end of the line. Not feeling huge, but certainly noticeably different, initial thoughts turned to a foul hooked somethingorother.
A flash of a flank, then a hint of silver. Then gone from view, but soon back and a bronzy hue. A bream or hybrid.
The bream very rarely show here. When the do they are said to run up to 7lbs or so, which made this a baby, but very welcome at 2.10. It seemed a shoal had found the now flying magic maggot carpet as another of exactly the same weight and a third of 3.5 were taken.
Now as a, largely, canal angler the prospect of a twenty pound catch is not to be sniffed at and, totting up the swag on the gadget, I was a few ounces short with 30 minutes of play remaining before stumps would be drawn.
The gadget died. Too much excitement.
Three missed bites ensued.
Of course! That had to happen.
Then..."What the...", I inwardly blurt.
Binoculars rushed to face. The agile, floaty, white rumped, flexi-streamered sight of a solitary globe-trotting arctic tern. Straight onto Birdguides that went, to join the earlier visual treat.
Then a three ounce perch succumbed but unable to remember how many ounces were needed and the I.T. Dept defunct I felt another fish should be enough insurance, after all the size of the fish had averaged a pound so one more made it a certainty - didn't it?
Nine ounces of perch followed that one, and, still not sure if I had done enough, I headed off to Chez Nous. Around the dinner table a quick recalc and by one ounce the elusive twenty pound catch was confirmed; all but half of it thanks to those three afternoon bream.
Quite a day, QUITE a day.
The eagle-eyed, ultra-observant, Sherlocks among the readership will no doubt have noted the new tabs at the top of the home page.
These have been created to display firstly, the Bloggers Challenge fish we are required to publish before claiming the points, the scoreboard will be up there soon too, and secondly bird lists from wherever they were collated.
The latter is a touch dry at present as it's just acting as a vehicle to record sightings but in time it will include record shots and a bit more information.