To cut a long story short, we saw the Plover (oh so boring), waltzed around the island in double quick time (RB Fly, RB Shrike), back onto St Mary's (LB Dowitcher), dossed in the harbour waiting room (I bet that doesn't happen now!), spent Sunday on Tresco (Black Duck) and then... the weekend got more interesting.
An Isabelline Shrike had been trapped at Winspit in Dorset. The team I was with all needed it. Monday saw us first in the queue at the airport to buy the last four seats on the helicopter. Our return journey on the Scillonian would have questioned our ability to get to Winspit before dark. As the helicopter took off we all slapped each other on the back for being so damn smart to get the last four seats. After a quick stop at Hayle (Sociable Plover), we arrived at Winspit with plenty of daylight left. There was one slight problem though - no shrike. After kicking around the area for a few hours that status didn't change. The light was fading. We decided to give up and started to trudge back up the valley to the car, to be met by a group of birders who had left Scilly that morning on the Scillonian, the ship that we should have been on but for our speed at getting to the airport. Even though we told them that the shrike had gone they were all ecstatic. Hadn't we heard? Everyone on that sailing had watched a Black-browed Albertross sitting on the water. Everyone. No string, no three-birder fly past, they all saw it. We felt deflated. Had we not been so quick to the airport we would have seen it as well. I can distinctly remember one of our number saying, "F@*% me, when we got on that helicopter we thought we were the cat's pyjama's". Quite.