Monday, 9 June 2014

Whilst I could produce a piss-poor pun involving the word Spectacular.... would be about as original as all the shitty football headlines that are going to take over our lives for the next month, so suffice it to say that I went, I saw, and I conquered. The views were amazing, one could even say they were spectacle, or err something like that. Anyway, superb views of this plucky scratchy songster that at one stage I thought I would miss until a brief window of opportunity opened up on Sunday morning. Happily the Spectacled Warbler did the decent thing and stayed, in fact it may stay some time as it appears to be trying to build a nest. Idiot. How is it supposed to know though, and the weather has been distinctly southern european of late. Though perhaps the lack of Black-winged Stilts, Short-toed Eagles and Glossy Ibis should be considered a bit of a giveaway.

An early start chez Bradders, but the pressure was off from the word go as he had news from on-site before 5am (!!) that the bird was still present. My kind of twitch, we just had to not crash on the way up, which with DB at the wheel was never really very likely. The journey up was as uneventful as I had hoped, and I didn't even fall asleep once. A medium-length walk out to the dunes and we could see a small crowd, perhaps 25, watching the sueda below. It was singing before we could even see it, but the views were nothing short of immense as it perched up very frequently and absolutely went for it. Win. It was still early enough that full zoom scope-fulls were unimpaired by warm air, and I'd almost say that the views were as good as those I've had abroad, but an experience in Morocco probably just about tops it. However in the context of the eighth UK record ever, and having dipped one with the aforementioned Bradders in about 2008 (he didn't dip it, he just took a bunch of us back there the day after and once it had done a bunk...), it was nothing short of a magnificent bird at a magnificent twitch.

No photos I'm afraid, though there are some pretty decent ones on the net should you be so inclined. With a small bird like this, and it being a large twitch with all that that entails, I didn't think I could get close enough to improve upon my efforts abroad, and they would all have been pointing down from the declared vantage point, so I didn't even bother. Have this one instead - a green background and perhaps a slightly less well-defined orbital ring and you'll be very close to enjoying the same experience I did. And without four hours in a car. It's OK, don't thank me....

Having arrived with perhaps 25 people there, when I got up to leave maybe two hours later I discovered a large crowd behind me - to their credit they were largely all being very quiet and simply enjoying the, err, spectacular, so I hadn't notice them even arrive. A steady stream of new arrivals continued to plod along the sea wall as we returned along it, so still a popular attraction even a week or so after arriving. And deservedly so.

Good to get one of the goodies back after having seeming missed a somewhat stonking couple of weeks whilst away globe-trotting. The Eagle still lingers, as does the Gull, so there is perhaps hope of both of those summering and me finding some time to do something about them. Time, as ever, remains the big limiting factor, and with crazy crazy work and very little free weekend time prior to mid-July, this mega Warbler may be all that I can manage. Not that it matters much when they show as well as this one did though, and I should be grateful that a few hours materialised that allowed me to nip up there and score. Needing to be back early afternoon, we piddled about on the North Norfolk coast in very pleasant but unbirdy conditions for the remainder of the morning, saw a Spoonbill actually moving which is perhaps even rarer than the Speccy, and returned safely to the big smoke suffering from nothing worse than acute hay-fever. A few false starts trying to remember my Bubo password, but it's inked in there now and for all eternity. Twitching - you know it makes sense.

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