Flush with success from yesterday, I have perhaps pushed the envelope too far. A big dip. This does not happen often and I am smarting. Left London at 5.30am, Port Talbot at 9am. Unfortunately the Ross's Gull does not know this, and departs the beach some fifteen minutes before we get there, not to be seen again for the rest of the day. I hate dipping, and I hate dipping even more when the bird has actually been present. What a bummer, 400 miles there and back, for a total of over 1000 for the weekend. You have to love twitching. I blame Shaun. Nick and I never dip, the only change to the usual routine is the only explanation for our failure. Arse.
We had a nice day stood around in the sunshine, half hoping that the bird would suddenly reappear. We imagined half-overheard conversations between locals, complete with dod-gy Welsh accents....
"Gareth, it's Dai! I've got it! It's on the beach with its foot stuck under a rock, it can't move!"
"Gethyn! Just spoken to Glynn, he's watching it now! Yes, down by the breakwater. He says there's something wrong with its wings! No, no, it's not going anywhere."
"Iestyn, have you heard?! The Ross's Gull is flapping feebly on the beach near the car park. Yes, the car park two minutes from where you're standing!"
Needless to say none of these conversations happened, there was no happy ending, and gradually people drifted away. We did too after five fruitless hours, although various Little and Med Gulls were nice diversions. Gutting that it didn't follow the pattern of yesterday, when it was present all afternoon. That was my original plan actually, Glamorgan yesterday, Durham today. If only. Didn't fancy the weather and decided to reverse the order. Shit happens. Still, any weekend where I've seen a Yellow-rumped Warbler can scarcely be described a a failure can it?
Today wasn't a total failure anyway, as we stopped in Gloucestershire on the way back for Nick. Normally we drive right past all the dross birds that he needs, but this was a Red-flanked Bluetail, and even though it pained me to do so, we decided to stop and have a look. The bird showed brilliantly, would that we had been there all day rather than staring dejectedly at a welsh beach. My fourth Bluetail, and they're such quality birds. No photos as we got there rather late, and the only reason we saw the bird is that I cracked open a Double Decker, as just like the Gull it had flown off just before we got there. Perhaps I should have tried that at Port Talbot?
So, a rare dip, but I guess that overall I do pretty well. So let's all try and forget this little blemish and move on. Bet it'll be there tomorrow....