Saturday 11 April 2015

A tale of two halves

Home: Wanstead
Up at 5.45, on the Flats by half six. Four hours later and I was wet, cold, and had seen just a single Swallow. And a topless woman who was bizarrely trying to change her clothes behind a bramble. Sheltered from the road, yes. Sheltered from an active London patch in mid April, no. It wasn't pleasant, it was just weird, but I suppose it was different, and a patch tick to boot. After such a great morning on Friday, when not only did I find a male Ring Ouzel but also saw my first Sand Martin and Yellow Wagtail of the year, a number of us were very excited about Saturday morning, especially with the prospect of early morning rain. In the event the rain didn't materialise until mid-morning, and Wanstead was more or less a bird free zone. I abandoned the patch as the rain got heavier, and when the sun came out gave it another go. This time I saw one fewer Swallow, and two fewer other things. I was on the way home when Bradders rang.

Away: Hampshire
A Greater Yellowlegs had turned up at Titchfield Haven. Interesting.....would it stick, and more crucially, it was it a real one. People may remember that Greater Yellowlegs Greenshank is a species that has caused me a little bit of angst in the past, but I am now older, wiser, and far more circumspect. Any reports of this species need to be thoroughly checked out, researched, critical questions asked..... Wooooo! A tick! So I said to Bradders that we should go, and immediately. He agreed, and guessing that might be my response, in fact just happened to be in the car and on the way to my place already, so it really was quite convenient that I wanted to go. To cut a long story short, the drive was easy (for me as the passenger), the bird showed instantly and amazingly upon arrival, and was flushed by a Sparrowhawk and flew off miles away about half an hour after we got there. In other words an exemplary twitch in all respects, the brick wasn't even needed. Twitching a Greenshank is still one of my most amusing birding failures, but nonetheless it's good to finally get this one. Especially after the long-staying bird at Strathbeg left a couple of days before I was due to go for it.

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