Saturday, 30 June 2018

Happy....I wish

So, I have to mention the sad fact that it looks to be true that 2 Common Crane flew over DP on Thursday afternoon. I am gutted for my own perspective, happy for the DP list, as they were probably tickable when 2 passed to the West 6th May 2012, but were seen above Bowsey Hill early afternoon, therefore possibly visible from the bottom of the car park field...oh well.

I hadn't reviewed May...92 species, not exactly pants, but 10 shy of the 2017 record, 4 short of 2012 & 2016, 1 short of 2011 & 2008, so fourth equal with 2007, 14, 15 & 16.

Now jump to June, 91 equal 2nd with 2016 and 1 less than last year. Okay I 'assume present' Mandarin, Kestrel, Tawny Owl, Nightingale, Mistle Thrush & Lesser Whitethroat, which are not unfair assumptions in my opinion.

The year is =2nd place for June 30th, again with 2017, 2 behind 2012, but before we've even entered July, 132 is new third place for 31st July total. If we get Black-tailed Godwit, maybe one other wader, say Wood Sandpiper, a Yellow-legged Gull, Linnet and Little Owl, that would be a new record, one past the 2012 high of 136...for end of July.

I hope my ramblings make sense to some people, it remains amazing to me that the boundaries of what is possible month to month can be surpassed.

Thursday, 28 June 2018

Like buses

Back out very early today and immediately rewarded and it's often about when you're out often, you notice small changes....

Scanning Lea Farm G.P. along the North spit at 05:35 I noticed 3 small ducks, checking with bins it was easy to see they were probably Teal, but upon scoping one was an obvious female/eclipse Garganey, the first this year.

I love Garganey, here are my 250+m record shots

Also still present, 2 LRP, 1 Green Sandpiper, 2 Little Egret, 1 Hobby over fast, 2 Skylark on hay bales.

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

A month between year ticks

Another lie in today after yesterday's very early trip down to LFGP....Very nice conditions first thing, 2 LRP chasing each other about, 1 Redshank, 1 Green Sandpiper, a few Lapwing, 1 Little Egret. At Sandford the Gadwall numbers keep rising, 30 now, plus 2 Shoveler, a family of Tufted Duck.

Kingfisher at Lavell's trying out the new posts in the wet meadow.

So, today Brian called with more news from Sandford, "Red Crested Pochard on old Tern island". An hour later I was watching it, a month on from my last year tick and it is not often one gets a new bird in June.

I'm level with 2017 now, and to use another good year, it was 5th August 2012 before I hit 127.

The SW corner looks great and I am hopeful we will pull in a 'new' wader or two over the next month, in order of likeliness, Black-tailed Godwit and Wood Sandpiper, not that either are certain to show up. But if we get the right conditions and luck, maybe a Turnstone, an early Curlew, or Little Stint?

Not forgetting other species to look out for, Yellow-legged Gulls are arriving in the UK pretty much now, Garganey are moving too and I'll never forget finding 5 on 23rd July 2000 at Lavell's. Also Black-necked Grebe start showing up at Staines in July so we could always have one drop en route.

I'll be listening for that all elusive first Linnet going over and a Yellow Wagtail is certain, just I may have to wait until August.

Saturday, 9 June 2018

June flat line or fab time?

Here we are in the heart of the breeding season and I still visit Lea Farm most mornings around 06:30, the highlights are not what many might consider exciting, 2 LRP's, 5 Lapwing, Gadwall, 2 Little Egret.....Cuckoo still, which I guess is getting late for an adult.

So is it actually worth getting out of bed, unless you're doing a breeding bird survey, possibly not. But as I am sure I've said before June can throw out the odd very pleasant surprise.

1981 : 13th Black Tern
1983 : 18th was my first big surprise and it was a whopper, 9 Little Terns over WSL, then Sandford mobbed by Common Tern and away East at 07:00. Same day Garganey was seen on Sandford.
1984 : 6th a Curlew, 7th a Garganey, 13th a very late Wheatear, 21st a late Grasshopper Warbler, 26th Ringed Plover
1985 : 8th a Dunlin
1986 : A Tree Pipit over (dubious in my opinion)
1987 : 6th Red-legged Partridge, 23rd Tree Sparrow
1988 : 11th, 27th & 28th Black Tern
1989 : 11th Marsh Warbler, 13th Grasshopper Warbler, 19th Ringed Plover, 21st/22nd Ruff (the infamous and unknown LB), 22nd Snipe, 29th Greenshank
1990 : 14th Wood Sandpiper, 16th Black Tern,
1991 : 4th to 7th Common Scoter
1992 : 3rd Red-footed Falcon, 3rd Garganey, 7th Green Sandpiper,
1993 : 24th 3 Ringed Plover, 8th Green Sandpiper, 30th Yellow Wagtail
1994 : 12th Common Sandpiper, 14th Green Sandpiper,
1995 : 18th Ringed Plover, Teal 22nd & 24th, 13th Common Sandpiper,26th Green Sandpiper
1996 : 7th Willow Tit (Observer Unknown and therefore unconfirmed)
1997 : 15th Cuckoo, 16th Greenshank, 25th Green Sandpiper
1998 : 2nd Corn Bunting (Observer Unknown and therefore unconfirmed)
1999 : Various oddities, breeding Teal and Water Rail claimed, 26th Snipe & Green Sandpiper
2000 : 18th Green Sandpiper, 25th Dunlin,
2001 : 19th Teal
2002 : 6th Teal, 23rd Green Sandpiper, 30th Little Egret (1st June record)
2003 : 1st > Peregrine (1st summer records began) 6th Stonechat, 7th Bittern, 8th Pochard, 10th/12th Shelduck, 17th > Teal, 23rd Barn Owl began breeding
2004 : 11th/13th Ringed Plover, 12th > Green Sandpiper, 17th> Common Sandpiper
2005 : 1st Little Egret, 12th Black Tern, 19th> Green Sandpiper
2006 : 20th/21st Pochard, 29th Garganey
2007 : 3rd Teal, 3rd Honey Buzzard North over BSL (FJC - Record not submitted to BBRC), 4th last ever Spotted Flycatcher record in June, 6th > Common Gull, 26th Peregrine
2008 : 27th Teal,
2009 : 3rd Shoveler, 10th & 25th Little Egret, 11th Green Sandpiper
2010 : 7th Ring-necked Parakeet (began breeding locally), 11th/22nd/29th Little Egret, 14th Teal, 25th Wigeon, 30th Ringed Plover, 27th Green Sandpiper
2011 : 12th Shoveler, 28th Black-tailed Godwit,
2012 : 1st Dunlin, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker (last ever breeding), 4th Yellow-legged Gull, 7th & 21st Common Gull, 18th Green Sandpiper, 23rd Common Sandpiper, 20th Quail
2013 : 23rd Common Sandpiper
2014 : 5th Red Crested Pochard, 22nd Pochard
2015 : 4th Water Rail, 4th Ringed Plover
2016 : 11th Green Sandpiper, 17th Common Sandpiper, 21st Water Rail, 23rd Raven,
2017 : 4th Raven, 17th Mediterranean Gull, 23rd Green Sandpiper, 24th Common Sandpiper

Over the last 5-7 years the frequency of Teal, Shoveler, Pochard, Little Egret and Parakeets has gone up to the point where it is less common we don't get the odd bird.

Happy birding

Monday, 28 May 2018

Does a good start mean anything?

Since my last post and I can only apologize for the infrequency of my posts these days, some more additions have popped up.

Little-ringed Plover went on to set up home here, not breeding so far, but we (FOLL) have made a good start on allowing that to happen next year by putting shingle across the island in front of the hide.

Little else of note occurred, warblers like Sedge, Whitethroat & Lesser Whitethroat in short supply for most of the time, Whitethroat now looking better in the last week.

Cuckoo still calling as of yesterday (27th), but it was a late Ringed Plover found by Marek & Brian that had me dashing back, post my usual early morning routine on the 21st.

Then all quiet again until Geoff texted to say 'Black Tern LFGP' yesterday, again post my early morning visit. Upon arrival one bird was patrolling up and down surface feeding, but decided to land on bouy near to the recently launched raft and it was at that point, we realised there were two. These were joined by a third after I left.

Today there was thick fog after a very stormy night for the second night in a row, luckily the rain missed us and went well East over Bucks. Only one day 2 days ago have I seen more than 15 Swift, with 80-100 over BSL early morning.

So I am on 126 for 2018, faced with the usual suspects to get and in some kind of date order hope, or expectancy they look like this:

Black-tailed Godwit
Little Owl
Yellow-legged Gull
Yellow Wagtail
Marsh Harrier
Spotted Flycatcher

To go past my all time year lists would require all these and more, but a few good possibles might yet be in the mix;

Sandwich Tern
Rock Pipit
Red-crested Pochard
Wood Sandpiper
Spotted Redshank
Bar-tailed Godwit
Common Scoter

And if we look over just the last 6 years, we have had mega's in 5 out of 6 years, so I am up for a stunning bonus like a Spoonbill, Great Northern Diver, Ring-necked Duck, Lesser Scaup, White-fronted Goose, or even....before all that a Red-footed Falcon, or Marsh Warbler and why not strong Easterlies for days and days...good luck folks.

My title to this post is there because this year is a high hitting start and on par with 2017 and whilst 2017 was excellent - 137 and equal 2nd place with 2014, fell 1 short of the 138 record in 2012. In 2012 I didn't get Green Sandpiper until 5th August, but as we say in bird racing, they are all only worth 1 at the end of the day....enjoy your birding.

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Are we done

A few more additions, a Hobby distantly over the far end of BSL, then overhead at the DAC on my birthday (1st.

Then Brian was out before me on the 5th to hear the Greenshank coming in from the North, I was near Teal hide when I looked at my phone to find his missed call at 06:08 due to my not taking it off silent from overnight.

By 06:18 I was looking at it, then so was Jack 5 minutes after that at, then it got harassed by a Black-headed Gull and was away towards Lavell's, staying for about an hour and half according to our Jenny.

And finally, after much avoidance tactics on their behalf a pair of Little-ringed Plover were at Tern scrape bund looking all loved up.

The Whitethroat population has not got above 3-4 still, Willow Warblers have gone thru with no records on DP in May so far. The Oystercatcher is sitting in a wisely high location at Sandford, but not that high given the flood potential. The Mandarin are resident on BSl, but not nesting as things stand.

The sunrises at Lea Farm are pretty nice, especially if you like thick mist and dew covered cobwebs.

Monday, 30 April 2018

In answer to my last question...

Yes, it can get even better.

Much has happened since 9th April, a slow trickle of migrants, all arriving later than the norm for the last 10+ years, kept me waiting for something good on one of my early morning pre work visits.

Then the 28th...the dawn chorus and we were already back into very cold and wet start, sure 3+2 Common Sandpiper was nice, but little else happened to brighten my day.

Luckily new local birder Jo Taylor was vigilant and heard a song he was not expecting over West of Sandford, on further investigation at the weir by Heron's Water, he confirmed the first Wood Warbler since 1992. Just 6 of us in total got to see it before it flew over the river and was never seen again.

Let me reveal the confusing story of Wood Warbler records;

1982 : Aug:1/1st, reported via ROC newsletter (OU)
1983 : Aug:1/12th North Sandford near Loddon for 3 mins 7.20am (FJC & DF), seen again 13th (Mike Collins & Kevin Templeman)
1984 : May:1/17th singing (RC), July:1/13th (MC & KT)
1992 : Apr:1/21st singing just off park (PA et al), then another 23rd (MJ Hallam), May:1/3rd Sandford (Patrick Crowley)
1998: Apr:1/22nd Middle Marsh (Patrick Crowley)

2003 : April:1/25th Lavell's (K Creed), Aug:1/9th (John Tilbrook)

As I often say this is my blog, so I can air my opinions, which are the following;

1982 : Fine
1983 : Fine
1984 : Unsure, but probably fine for both records
1992 : April 21st certainly fine, 23rd fine, no idea about the May bird
1998 : No idea
2003 : April, good date but dubious. August, no idea, supposedly okay.

This morning, I found not 1 but 2 Whimbrel on the East shore of LFGP and unusually they stuck around, rather liking the long grass to feed and hide, even returning after a flush or two from crows.

Monday, 9 April 2018

Can it get any better

I was doing family stuff yesterday afternoon when Brian called in with 2 Little Gulls at BSL, but it didn't take me long to get there and enjoy the little beauties flying up and down the East side.

I even managed a class pic of one of them....

But today at 06:51 Marek had just joined me at the sailing club for the first time in about 6 months before work and I looked up and said "is that Egret as big as it looks"? Sure enough it was a Great White Egret, my 5th, Marek's 1st.

I think Marek's shot is better

Saturday, 7 April 2018

Lots to catch up with

Not that it has been non stop or anything, but the Wheatear was nice and getting Sand Martin same day was also good.

A day pause on the 1st April with nothing new, then Tim James got a lovely early Common Tern on BSL, which I also made it to see. My earliest by a mile.

The next day (3rd)  I got in a quick car park field recky and got another Wheatear very distantly on the landfill. I also heard a Hawfinch go over. I was ill with tonsilitis and what with the flooding making things near impossible anyway I gave up, but toward the end of the day I gave the car park field another quick look around in the rare sunshine.

Almost immediately I was rewarded with my first 2 Swallow, looping over the bottom end of the car park field towards Lavell's. I was looking at my phone and when I looked up saw 4 long necked ducks coming in fast from the North over Lavell's. They were up high enough to stay on and it was easy to see they were 4 Pintail, getting the scope on the them it became obvious it was 2 pairs.

The 4th I slept in and stayed home to try and rest and get better, late morning Geoff texted saying a Tern went by LFGP toward DP and looked a bit Arctic like.

I was at the door and the breezy but showery weather might help my health, so headed out. I found the bird immediately with Alan and we watched it sat for 10 minutes, after which it flew about and returned 2-3 times over the next hour. The weather was pretty rubbish really so light pretty poor.

The Tern had a dainty jizz, light and bouyant flight, snatched food from the surface like a marsh tern.

Plumage : Long'ish but not extensively long tail streamers, not long bodied. Wings had typical dark edge on under side for Arctic, but the upper wing was a bit more confusing with 4-5 primaries having small smudgey grey marks running up the shafts, not a long way and subtle, but easily visible.

When perched it's bill was black from tip to about half way then graduated into very dark red, but not especially short. Legs, probably short. The head had the 'cappy' look about rather than the 'napey' look of Common.

Here are my best shots from the 300m range.

After conversations, re-reading etc, I believe this was more likely Arctic than Common.

Sunday, 1 April 2018

Heady heights

Despite the totally silly amount of water falling from the sky yesterday, the afternoon unfolded pretty well and since I was at my son's 6th birthday party when it all happened, I was blissfully unaware until nearly 14:00.

So after the Willow Warbler excitement, rain first thing left me unenthusiastic so I left so I had good time to get ready. Then Wheatear was found on the East shore, then Sand Martins went thru and it didn't seem likely I would even get down the Loddon footpath due to flooding, but of course I tried and succeeded.

The male Wheatear was still around the South end of the East shore along with a Green Sandpiper further right.

Then Ann WhatsApp'd the Red-legged Partridge again and I felt compelled to head that way, I'm glad I did but despite my inability to find it, I did pick up 7+ Sand Martin over Lodge Wood heading toward DP.

March was a pretty good month, it thrashed 2016 by 4, making a new 1st place high count of 100 species and whilst doing that it beat the running year totals of 2016 and 2017 by 2, hitting the heady heights of 106.

It will all even out as all the usual migrants arrive, but it's those little bonuses that make all the difference at year end, Tim's Little Gulls may be matched in mid to late April, we can only hope. This next 2 weeks are a key window for Marsh Harrier, Osprey, Ring Ouzel, as are even a mythical species like Water Pipit, Tree Pipit and Black Redstart, but all could drop in.

Okay I have to mention it, it's the 18th year anniversary of my Purple Heron on the 5th & 6th!

We have 3 credible April records of Goshawk, 6th & 15th 2009, immature female seen by me, then Trev. Prior to that 23rd 2002, again Trev and again a female. With big raptors coming thru each April, I'd say April is the month to get lucky.

Thursday, 29 March 2018

1 bloomin hundred

Since the annoying cold weather has not ceased it has been an endless hope we will get a migrant, but I wouldn't wish that on a bird having flown so far, to arrive here to find sod all to eat because it's so damned cold still.

Much as I'd like to have seen Sand Martin, LRP, Swallow, even House Martin and Willow Warbler, none look likely in the next 48 hours, but we shall see.

Nonetheless, a Blackcap's song graced my ears this morning, probably 2, marking my 100th species for the year, and that is just fine indeed.

I look forward to an April Hawfinch as Richard saw one today and Rick saw 6-8 at the nearby StNicholas predicted, but I couldn't find the time to prove myself.

Any day now a biggy will show, the 18 year anniversary since my Purple Heron is here on the 5th and 6th April, my hasn't time flown...such memories....such bliss.

Thursday, 22 March 2018

2018 flying high

I knew things had been tracking well and no individual species makes a year, but the bonus birds keep coming for me.

All was pretty quiet this morning at Lea Farm G.P. today, then up went everything....Peregrine? No some muppet dog walker on the East shore, you've got to be kidding me. Off I went, quickly locked the hide, running back the green bridge and clambered over barbed wire fence.

As I crossed the the ditch at the base of the Southern spit, I whistled to the man now heading East parallel with Lavell's. So it went something like "my dog ran off at the gate, which was open and I couldn't catch him, so I kept chasing and now I got this far I'm trying to get back home not far from the Chocoholics place".

I explained in polite terms he was on private property and should he come back, would be faced with gates and promises of fines. He seemed genuinely apologetic.

Onwards and out of breath I went, off to BSL sailing club, nothing, Lavell's Tern scrape, next to nothing, a last minute check of the car park field to see if a Hawfinch was about, led to my seeing a football sized bird lift of the ground and buzz over the hedgerow. I knew it was a Red-legged Partridge without even getting my bins on it, so ran to the landfill viewpoint, where I picked it up legging it to the track and watched it continue to adjacent to the recently cut willows, where it paused allowing terrible record shots, before speeding on West along the track out of sight.

99 for the year, blimey. In itself it's nothing amazing, but if you don't miss the annual migrants and continue hitting bonus birds, it makes for a darn good score and I know I remain 7-10 days ahead of any other year. This means if we get the expected Sand Martin, Blackcap, Redshank, then possibly add LRP, Wheatear, Garganey, Swallow, Curlew, Red-crested Pochard and early House Martin and Willow Warbler on the 31st, we could smash it out of the park on all fronts.

The month is also ahead, 1 more to equal the heady heights of 2012's 100 and the year on 101, needs 5 more to equal the running total in 2012.

Here is the shot of the Merlin on the post, distance and shakes make it impossible, but it was a fabulous male.

Sunday, 18 March 2018

More typical snowy result

I was due to go to Cardiff for work but snow stopped play and I got out to Lea Farm GP for a quick check and it was an underwhelming experience, much more like many a cold snap gone before.

2-3 inches of snow, strong East good birds....what was the difference from the last event that blew us all away?

No idea, the highlights were 8 Snipe, c60 Wigeon, c40 Teal, 3 Lapwing, 6 Common Gull, 2-3 distant 'probable Raven' 50+ Redwing, 30-40 Siskin in Alder above the path.

I can't recall a mid March date when snow did settle like it did overnight and continues as it does tonight, I'm sure I am just not aware of the facts. A few shots hopefully capture the glory of it.

I'd still love a Water Pipit, a Garganey and a Curlew would be great, perhaps a Little Gull, like other sites have been getting.


Saturday, 17 March 2018

March marching on

As per the trend these days, a few things have happened since my seeing Black-necked Grebe, the first being never seeing it again despite it remaining til at least the 13th.

Hawfinch were last seen 11th from what I can find.

4 Oystercatchers 13th, the 14th brought me my first Chiffchaff along the Loddon near the green bridge, Barn Owl each morning I've been out, 111 Wigeon and 27 Teal still LFGP, not counting Lavell's, but it was today that was the most exciting. When I arrived at LFGP 06:30 it was snowing fine granules of snow and a very cold East wind blowing in, I scanned 2-3 times for yesterday's Redshank without success, checked for Garganey, pipits and then began checking for Wheatear.

Right to left, each vent, nothing, nothing, nothing, err what's this on a post on the far landfill, too big for a Wheatear, but grey, not a Stock Dove...'no it's a raptor, blimey it's a male Merlin'.

fumbling for my phone adapter, no joy it was in the car, calls to John, Brian and grabbing a couple of pathetic hand held shots and a WhatsApp message....take your eye off it for 3 seconds and it's gone.

Panning around a pair of Mandarin went by, so another year tick, but no further sign before Jack arrived 2-3 minutes later.

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Off patch Stonechat

Newby Mike posted on Berksbirds a Whinchat near Borough Marsh and I wanted to check it out, being less than 10 minute drive I quickly joined him there.

Not a Whinchat, but a rather interesting looking Stonechat, as the pictures below reveal.

I'd hoped it might have a chance of being a Siberian Stonechat, but from a little research and discussions with others, it isn't pale enough, the tale lacks the rufous tones etc. But they are so variable, one should always check carefully.

The lull before the storm

After all the excitement that cold snap brought, the carry over birds remaining are 2 male Pintail and the Black-necked Grebe, yesterday's fly over Goosander might be the same male seen 2-3 times recently.

Now we wait for signs of passage, perhaps a long awaited Rock Pipit for Lea Farm, early to mid March is the best time if we use the early 80's records as a compass! Then if we use the same compass for Water Pipit, late March into April for Water....I wish for either, as neither has occurred since the early 80's.

I've already covered the possibilities for March in various posts over the years, so will be keeping an eye out for those possible bonus gems, like Common Scoter, Yellow-legged Gull, Curlew, other geese, mystical Red-breasted Merganser, Long-tailed Duck, any divers, Shag, and somewhat more down to earth a Merlin, Hen Harrier or Short-eared Owl on it's way out.

Saturday, 3 March 2018

Another good one

Out at 07:00, in very grey and much warmer conditions as a very quick thaw set in. At Sandford 2 male and 1 female Pintail, which moved to LFGP. At LFGP another Dunlin sat in front of the hide, but not so much more happening, a Little Egret over, a few Lapwing, 4 Snipe was it for me.

A loop around the Sandford, Heron's Water, WSL section wasn't thrilling, a Kingfisher, 23-25 Pochard and a female Goldeneye on BSL. Nothing much on Lavell's, but Sandford had the Med, but I didn't connect.

Walking with new member Mike we decided to go for the Pintail, now back on Sandford, only to stumble across a Golden Plover right as Jack was texting me a picture they had taken from Sandford hide.

As I left it was clearing and said more could did a male Goosander flew in and mid afternoon a Black-necked Grebe was found on BSL by Marek, I was in Calcot finishing up a shopping and family trip out, but was at the sailing club by 15:00 enjoying the first Black-necked Grebe since 2012.

This is a very good start to 2018, 97 species seen, 95 by me so I'm tracking about 10-13 days ahead of 2012 and other good starts.

We can hope to see the following in March roughly in this date order;

Little-ringed Plover
Little Owl
Sand Martin
House Martin

Uncommon and rare sightings include

Red Crested Pochard
Common Scoter
Ringed Plover
Marsh Harrier
Rock Pipit
Water Pipit

Thursday, 1 March 2018

What a morning

I was out chasing down Tim's Smew from last night, BSl was being blasted with strong East winds and blizzard conditions. No sign from the golf course strip, so decided on the West side, John McGowan joined me as we headed round anti clockwise, our faces being frozen off as we went.

We met Andy T and scanned the south end of the island, nothing, Andy went South John and I headed back and I suggested a quick diversion to Sandford to be sure.

Oh boy was that a good idea, a small wader popped out off the East side of the old Tern island, "Dunlin"....."yep running across the island" John said...."no it isn't it's sat still" I said. We had two, but I scanned and found not just the 2nd Dunlin, but 1, no 2, no 3 Ruff hunkering down in the blizzard with beauty!

No time left before my lift obligations, I had to encounter yet another crunch on Sandford Mill hill, got through and went off for chores.

Not long went by, when Brian was saying no sign of the Ruff, but now at LFGP where they had Golden Plover, 4 Dunlin, 3 male Pintail & Jack Snipe.

I was down pretty quick despite the now closed road.

The Golden Plover went missing, but could still be local, but the Dunlin group grew to a flock of 7, 3 of which were right in front, 3 male Pintail were very nice and brief glimpses of the Jack Snipe.

Other saw Peregrine, Brambling was at Bittern hide feeders, Snipe were flying around everywhere and a group of around 7-8 finches were just Siskin and 3+ Lesser Redpoll opposite the Mill.

I haven't had time to add my finding the Mediterranean Gull yesterday too

These four additions puts me on 93 out of 96, just one to match 2012, so it's going pretty well