" Been Birding Today? " I have! Or, more like; I've spent an hour sitting around in my compound, watching the resident population. Then, on impulse, I struck out on a mad trek, in search of more nests to record for the BTO NRS.

I'd been out for pushing three hours and had seen wondrous things and had great adventures. But, I'd actually failed to see more than the one bird I've asked about under 'Beginners'.

I'd actually gone to check a nearby lough for waterfowl, see? Then I ventured into some habitat I've never set foot in before. Straight away wanting to punch myself for not having brought my camera!

Found a hole in a tree which is absolutely to die for! Three and half inch, rough hole. Bit bare for about nine inches beneath it. As if something's worn it by its activity. Single strand of horse hair showing from within.

This is in a tree in the dividing 'hedge / tree' line between rough, upland pasture and a very unnaturally and obviously 'crop' planted area of pale, beige coloured trees. Could be Beech, perhaps? Dunno. Looked a bit like Ash. But, why would anyone plant 'weed trees' here?

And, fifty yards below is the lough. Fifty yards above? A conifer plantation. What's in that hole? I gently tapped it with my stick. Nothing came out. About eight foot up and no real hand / foot holds. I'll need to fetch a ladder, and / or my " See Snake ". Anybody care to have a fun guess at what I might find in there?

Spotting that was way cool. But, it was when I circled back round to what passes for 'civilisation' here, my neighbours farm yard. I'd just passed through that and was walking down the track towards my own track when all hell let loose!

First off, I spotted a Long Tailed Tit. About the second time I've seen one here in five years. That was fantastic! Then I marked a Willow Warbler. Cracking views of that little beauty in the evening rays.

Great Tit was a tad passe. But then I spotted another warbler ~ all this from the one spot! I'd simply spotted the LTT and kept on noticing more as I stood there. It was the 'Other Warbler' that completely freaked me out! Male Blackcap! An Irish " Lifer " ( Or 'Five Yearer' ) for me! A self found first? I was on cloud nine!

Then, just as I'm figuring this is as good as it gets, something else catches my eye ..... The short version is that I now have a pair of Blackcaps, pinned down to a couple of square feet of hedge. And one of Eire's top Nest Finders ~ and a bugger for the Warblers! ~ is due here, next week!

He's coming to start me off on nestling ringing. I'm not sticking my heavy handed face in that hedge! Leave it for the expert to sort

Then, just as I turned to float off home with an airy spring in my step, reckoning This is as good as it gets? 'Twinkle ~ I saw that!'. There she is; Dear little Blackbird, still as a statue and tucked in behind some mossy wood in the hedge!

Bless her! I'll be back up there tomorrow. Stake it out and wait for her to slip off for a feed. Then I'll see what she has in there

What an absolute Blast of an outing!