Minimalist Goosanders on the Ribble from Ribchester Bridge.

A COMBINATION OF NORTHERLY WINDS AND BAD LUCK combined to scupper most of my birding efforts over the last few days. I spent hours on Pendle trying to track down the dotterels from Thursday and Friday and learned today that Thursday's trip was flushed by an inconsiderate dog walker who let his mutt off its lead and it promptly flushed the dotties and they left the hill. The lack of respect shown by the majority of dog walkers on Pendle is shocking. Most (not just a few) dogs are off the lead when there are signs all over the place to keep them on the lead and the number of dog shit bags that are slung all along the path is a disgrace. I'd love to know who these people are. There were still six Ring Ouzels present on the landslide slope on Thursday as well as a few wheatears but nothing else of note.

I even managed to screw up a distant Green Sandpiper at Alston Wetland today dismissing it as a Common Sandpiper (my scope is still in Portugal being fixed). Ah well. There was a handful of acceptable additions to the little year list. A House Martin flew over the house on 22 April. Sitting in the garden instead of a three hour hike on Pendle in a freezing northerly wind would probably have been more productive! A cuckoo was singing from Bottom's Beck at Stocks today (thanks Margaret!) and a Merlin was in residence at one of their usual sites on the Fells (thanks Richard!). I didn't fancy looking at a Black Redstart through an elderly lady's kitchen window and I also failed to find a Common Whitethroat (a couple of which have been reported in East Lancs today). Thank goodness for a spectacular day trip to the Natural History Museum in London yesterday with the little one and his grandparents. Now that was really something!

ELOC year list: 116. House Martin 117. Common Cuckoo 118. Merlin

The new Stegosaurus skeleton at the NHM, the majority of which is real rather than a reproduction - spectacular!