I can at times be a bit of a sceptic. After twitching a Red-footed Falcon which never even existed, I now like to have a little more than a single tweet to go on - Pictures help too.
So when, on Friday a Yellow-browed Warbler was reported from Regent's Park, although I didn't completely doubt it, I thought it a little odd. Last year I had my first Yellow-browed Warbler, an individual which took two attempts to see. It was also one of, if not London's only Yellow-brow that year. That was at Regent's Park too, coincidence? Sure, why not?
There was only one reporting, but I was heading that way on Saturday anyway, so it was worth a look. Checking where in the park it had been seen threw up another little oddity: It was seen at the north-east end of the lake before flying to the island. Huh, that's where it was last year. The coincidence grows, as does the scepticism.
Having spent an hour or so searching the area without even hearing a call, we decided to give up with no warbler and go and photograph the Herons. Funnily enough that's also what happened last year.
So no, this - unfortunately - doesn't have the kind of ending where the coincidences were just coincidences and the bird was there showing nice as you like. If only. However, I don't believe it to be a tale of falsehoods and stringing. It was reported by people who I believe are good birders, so I'm sure it was there. At first at least, to save face I'll say it wasn't there when I went.
As such, it is at risk of contradicting myself that I say, in this case perhaps being sceptical was wrong and it was just a pure fluke of coincidence. Or, just a returning bird with a routine it likes to stick to, even if it was eight days earlier this year.
But what am I thinking, last year it took two attempts, so let's see what happens this week. Just ignore the hindering factor it hasn't been reported again and is probably a hundred or so miles away by now. Or maybe a little closer to home perhaps?