As you know, I've been watching the sky quite a bit lately. The back of my house has a small flat roof, which until recently I had never considered as a vantage point. A couple of days ago I tried it out for the first time and was immediately rewarded by a pair of Tufted Duck that I simply wouldn't have seen from the terrace, which is where I usually scan from. Garden tick #62.
Today I spent a bit of time between cleaning jobs having a bit of look. I saw very little. At around 2:20 it began to rain heavily, so I gave up and climbed back inside to make a cup of tea. Mid-boil, the phone rang - it was Paul W, stuck in traffic on the way to Tesco in Leytonstone. He had seen what he thought was a large raptor drifting overhead, and it looked like it could come my way. Still on the phone I dashed upstairs and flung open the window. Sure enough, it wasn't long before I saw a large bird distantly over Bush Wood Flats. Up until that point Paul and I had been having a relatively normal conversation, well as normal as it gets with one birder sat in a car and another stood on his roof with binoculars. Then I lost the plot. "RED KITE!!!! RED KITE!!!!" Where was the camera? Downstairs. Gah!!! I hurridly said I'd call Paul back, who I think assumed I had fallen off the roof in my excitement, and galloped downstairs. My camera habitually lives on the sofa, but it wasn't there. Instead there was a vision of loveliness with plumped up cushions. Aargh!! What had I been I thinking! I had put it away! In a bag! In the cupboard! This is the first time that the camera had not been sat on the sofa in WEEKS, for God's sake! Struggling with the zip I rushed upstairs and back out of the window, the rain forgotten. It was still there, with fourteen local Crows in attendance. Of course the camera wouldn't focus on it, but despite my haggard state I managed to remember to flip it to manual and got a few record shots before it disappeared south.
Now, I have twitched Wanstead Park before, for Little Egret and Garganey, but this is plumbing new depths. I have just twitched my own Garden. OK, so Paul didn't call me up and say "If you look outside now there is a Red Kite sat on your lawn", it was a little more tenuous than that, but that's the general gist. Do I care? No, of course not! What an absurd suggestion! Red Kite is not only a garden tick, which is the best kind of tick there is, but also a Wanstead tick. And it doesn't stop there either - it is also an Essex tick! Yes, a three tick day! Superb. Red Kite, along with Osprey, is, or should I say, was, my most-wanted bird locally. I came so close only a few days ago, so to get the chance again, well, wow. The weekend starts now!