According to my records I've not been birding in Essex since October 2013. I mean, sure, Wanstead is in Essex, but I mean a birding day out where I might see something interesting enough to actually write it down. This explains why I've not had an Essex tick since October 13th 2013, when I recall being on Mersea with Adrian K and finally catching up with Yellow-browed Warbler, a full two years after Pallas's (which is just wrong).
Today started badly with a hangover of medium proportions, survivable, but not sufficiently overlookable to be able to bounce out of bed and go and do what I wanted to do, which was smash the crap out of Desert Wheatears. So instead I opted for the juvenile Surf Scoter out at Wrabness. I'd never been there and promptly got lost, which required some cross-country remediation, but eventually I popped on the river wall of the Stour to be presented with a massive and Scoterless vista. Pleasant enough, but absolutely no sign of the bird, so I strung a few bits and pieces until it turned up - loads of Mergs, a few Goldeneye and oodles of Great Crested Grebes.
I probably had time to go to Kent for the Wheatear too, but party preparations back home beckoned, so I sensibly returned in order to do that and not get into trouble. Hopefully the Wheatear stays, but the weather in the morning isn't looking too hot. Looks like I had better have a lie in.....
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