Well what a to do there has been over this apparent Slaty-backed Gull at Rainham. Cars queing pre-dawn, people from hundreds of miles away. A thousand of them, desperately trying to look through the chain link fence that normally has one or two people at best. A rubbish tip surrounded.
I've yet to go to Rainham this year, and after stepping off a transatlantic flight on Saturday morning, going straight there to join the throngs came low on the list of things I wanted to do. This isn't some faux cool as I haven't seen the bird, it is part of my new philosophy of birding relaxation. Kudos extraordinaire to the finder - it looks pretty good doesn't it - not many people have a first for Britain to their names, but I can't get too excited about it. Bloody gulls.
I had an opportunity to go today, but it was tipping it down. As well as relaxing, birding needs to be fun. Getting soaked through at a rubbish tip didn't tick many of the boxes, so I stayed home and farted about with paperwork and stuff that I hadn't been able to do in America.
I have to say the scenes at Rainham from the weekend were pretty funny. A thousand people, dipping on Coldharbour Lane. Just the thought of it makes me giggle - sorry if you were one of them. Naturally there are a few claims of sightings. I wasn't there so have no valid comment to make, but the mantle has been well and truly taken up on the web, where a couple of pages of intelligent discussion on the wing formula of a potential first for Britain has now swelled to a further eight pages of drivel and diatribe, mainly from disgruntled dippers who, having not seen it, are trying their hardest to discredit anyone who says they did. I am getting to the point where I can predict exactly what the next person will say, which also makes me giggle, yet they just don't see it, or don't care. I am sure it will rumble on for days, and I will get many more laughs.
Anyhow, when I'm good and ready, and when the skiving masses have departed, I'll get over there. And as is usual at this time of year, I'll probably have a scan through the gulls. The first slightly dodgy Lesser Black-back that appears, I'm having it, no questions asked, which should be good for another eight pages.
More on my American trip a bit later, with plenty of photos of red and blue birds that knock weird gulls into a cocked hat!