Our Isles of Scilly party have just left the island after a full week including a Blue Heron - only the third record of this species in Britain. And our group saw it. In birding circles this has been referred to as "a mega bird". I remember seeing one of them in Cuba so it was definitely off-track.
Not that chasing rarities is the kind of birding our groups do. We're much more all-rounders, enjoying not only rare birds but also the every day species as well as the plants, scenery and island life in this unspoilt corner of Britain.
"That's what we like to hear" doesn't, in fact, refer to the Great Blue Heron but to a comment one of our clients made to Will Wagstaff (our tour leader): "That's the best holiday I've ever had". Isn't that super? And it comes immediately after the questionnaires for our Crete holiday in April came in - every single one of them had "excellent" for all questions except one : accommodation got "very good". It doesn't half make all the effort worthwhile.
And talking of effort - time I got on with polishing our next three tours to St Helena - and they'll almost certainly be the last ones before the Royal Mail Ship is de-commissioned (or at least loses its subsidy) when the airport on the island opens - theoretically in April 2016. Watch this space. By the way - Island Holidays has the last two remaining cabins on the ship for the voyage which takes in the 200th anniversary of Napoleon's arrival on St Helena. It's going to be a terrific trip.