The best part of my job, I’d have to say, is that you get to travel a bit. Not only to the far ends of the earth, occasionally, but also to parts of Britain you might otherwise never get to.
Over the Easter weekend, I was on a wildlife cruise around Bute, Arran and Loch Fyne, in western Scotland. We were lucky enough to get some lovely weather, the birding was good, and the company excellent. You could spend a lifetime exploring this area and still not see the half of it, because there are so many little sea lochs, inlets, islands and hidden valleys tucked away, but let's just say that the scenery is frequently breathtaking and leave it at that.
It was actually reasonably quiet, bird-wise, as we didn't get lucky and see the Golden Eagles nesting near the Arran distillery at Loch Ranza, but there was plenty of interesting stuff. Black Guillemots, for instance, known locally as Dookers - very neat, attractive little birds. Or Hooded Crows paired up with Carrion Crows - we must have been just about on the dividing line between the two species. Flypast Black-throated and Red-throated Divers too.
Obviously, I had to sample a few single malts while on board ship (strictly to ward off seasickness, obviously). Lagavulin and Laphroaig are always a treat, but I'd never come across Caol Ila or Arran before, and neither suffered by comparison with their better-known fellow islanders.
But anyway, I'm hooked now. I'll definitely have to return sometime very soon.