I drove across the Cheviots from Peebles to Teesside for the juvenile purple heron at the new reserve of Saltholme Pools. This lies surrounded by the industrial complex north of Middlesbrough and is perfect according to the theory that birds will go where humans don't. Think of the army ranges on Salisbury Plain, the vicinity of Sizewell and Dungeness nuclear power stations and so on.
Well, almost perfect. Today a few of the local neds decided to scare off the heron. Really. This is what their lives are about.
So, I didn't get to see the bird but I’m staying over at Seaton Carew (which always prompts a refrain of Metal Guru) to have another go tomorrow. I’m not too gutted either because right at the death, as I was leaving the reserve, up popped a yellow wagtail, which I last saw nearly ten years ago. This is so far back that I had some trouble with the bird’s identification. It’s not uncommon, so it’s hard to say how I've managed to miss it all this time, apart from my lengthy spells in America and Scotland.
Therefore, the answer is: very cool. And if Saltholme delivers the heron tomorrow, mega-cool.