It has been a frenetic weekend. A 4:30am start in Wanstead on Saturday paid dividends with another Common Sandpiper and a male Kingfisher, both ticks for the Flats. Rather unfortunately I do actually keep sub-lists for the various areas here. I try my best not to share this level of detail, but occasionally I slip up. Sorry. Then a butterfly extravaganza in Hatfield Forest, followed by a superb piece of twitchery for the Franklin's Gull in Staffordshire. Back home and straight to bed for a 4am start and a trip to Dungeness.
The sea produced a single Bonxie heading west, a few Little and Med Gulls, and very little else. Worth a try, but the real substantive basis for the trip were land-based birds. First up the White-tailed Plover on the ARC pit. It has been ten days since I last saw one, and frankly I was getting withdrawal symptoms. It showed very well, just as it had at Rainham, and was an excellent tick for the Kent list that I don't keep.
Next stop Denge Marsh where Nick and I had the Purple Heron in flight almost immediately, and then the same or another stood in the reeds. An hour or so of nothing followed, and then all of sudden all the birds started having a bit of a fly-about, including the Great White Egret that we had been waiting for. Unfortunately my camera chose exactly this moment to have a wobble, and the auto-focus contrived to ensure a series of blurred shots that had appeared fine through the viewfinder. Not impressed. Well they're OK I suppose, but they should have been much better. Nonetheless, mission accomplished, so we headed back home for the real target of the day.
Earlier on Stuart had texted with news of a Sedge Warbler. Staring out at Denge Marsh, eighty miles away, this was less than ideal. Neither Nick nor I have ever had one in Wanstead, and indeed it was Stuart's first too. The patch trumps all else, and brings out the very best in me, so as soon as the Great White Egret was in the bag, we scooted home.
Needless to say we got it, and quite a lot of other things to boot. The patch has had a great weekend. Two Common Sandpipers and a Yellow Wagtail yesterday, and today, via a Common Tern fishing on the Basin, Nick and I had not only the Sedge Warbler, but five Little Egrets and two Garden Warblers. And, wait for it, juvenile Sedge Warblers! We are all crap, a Sedgie, a Wanstead rarity, has managed to breed, undetected, under our very noses. And where under normal circumstances one photo would be enough, with common birds that turn up in Wanstead that is of course no longer the case, so have two more.
I am now on 98 for the year, the ton is in my sights. As such I'll be out there early doors tomorrow. Can't wait. Can you?