Saturday, 27 March 2010

A fine start, but a poor finish

The day started very well with news of Kev finding an Alpine Swift at Crossness. I am in the happy position of having seen an Alpine Swift in London this week already, but being greedy I headed Rainham. Yes, uber-cool being that I am, I felt that there was a chance to bag this southern wanderer for my Rainham list by virtue of seeing a dot zooming about distantly over Crossness. I was wrong, though there was a moment of excitement when it was reported to fly high east. All eyes were to the sky, but nothing came through.

All was not in vain though, for on the way to Rainham, news of a male Ring Ouzel on the sea wall reached me. Despite the possibility of an Alpine Swift from Rainham, I went straight to the Aveley Bay carpark and following some top "it's in that bush there" gen from Steve B, picked it up more or less straight away. All thoughts of Alpine Swift were forgotten, Ring Ouzels, especially immaculate males like this, are stunning, and I can't get enough of them. And it was a site tick....

Bradders arrived soon afterwards, and there was a comedy moment when I turned round to wave and point at the bush, and whilst my back was turned it flew out and down the sea wall another 100 yards. I continued on towards what I thought was the bush, and was puzzled when I couldn't see it, and only discovered what had happened when Bradders turned up. Impossible to get any decent shots of it, an extremely flighty and nervous bird. Then the news of the Alpine Swift flying high east came through and all thoughts of Ring Ouzel were forgotten....

The afternoon was less glorious. Bradders, the Monkey and I attempted to twitch the Pallid Swift at Kessingland. We didn't get it - the Dipmonkey strikes again. We only called him to save a bit of petrol money, next time I'm paying the full fare. In addition to not seeing the Pallid Swift, we basically failed to see anything at all, it was dead. Until just after we left of course, when all the Pallid dippers had an Alpine Swift go over their heads, apparently only the 854th record this month.

Subsequent photos of Monkey may look happier....

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