Decided that today, in common with this day in other years, including one a very long time ago, would be a day off. No work, hip hip hooray. And what a pleasure it was. Although my return to work is only a few months old, I am sorry to say that I had forgotten quite how nice it is to be able to do absolutely nothing. Wonderful. Had it been raining, I may have caved and gone into the office, but it wasn't. In fact it was the hottest day of the year so far, and with apologies to all the Mums on the school run, the shorts and flip flops came out. If you're going to have a day off, you might as well do it properly.
Unsurprisingly I didn't do much. A potter around Wanstead was lovely, but the weather was too nice for anything to be about, and no Wheatears proved the final straw and spurred me on to Rainham. This year, of all years, is Iceland Gull year, and to not see one would just be ridiculous. The Stone Barges seems to be the spot at the moment, and on arrival I was dismayed to see about a gazillion large gulls bobbing about on the river in truly awful light. Despite being on my day off, I was going to have to work at it, and as Gav from NQS says, Iceland Gulls have a horrible habit of seamlessly blending in. Luckily though, I'm shit hot at this birding lark, and I only had to go through the several thousand gulls about four times before I found one. It showed really rather well, until it got barged out of the way by a flat-bottomed boat and disappeared into the haze. Job done, I headed for home where a boozy lunch awaited.
This did not disappoint, and amazingly despite almost an entire bottle of Rosé disappearing down my gullet, I was still able to jump up and shout "Buzzard!" very loudly when I glanced up through the conservatory roof. Buzzards are in serious danger of becoming a dross bird - today's was the fourth 2012 garden bird, and eighth patch bird. This one was one of the best yet, and even though a teensy bit tipsy, I still managed to stick a telephoto lens on the camera and point it at the bird. I guess there are some things that you never lose the ability to do.