Monday 1 May 2017

The weekend delivers

On Friday I tweeted that I was fully expecting at least 6 ticks the following day. I got just one, a Yellow Wagtail that I didn't even see. I was disappointed that the morning just hadn't lived up to expectations, with the exception of that rather delicious female Wheatear.

I went out yesterday and this morning as well, and I am please to report that finally the floodgates have opened. Yesterday saw two fine Whinchat down by the logs of happiness, as well as at least seven Wheatear and my first Sand Martin, both of which were new for the year, and you can't beat a Whinchat in spring. Especially when you did not bother to take a camera. Nonetheless I came back feeling pleased, and then spent the rest of the day eating and drinking to excess. Despite this gluttonous afternoon today I was up even earlier, although for the first couple of hours I wondered why I had bothered. Happily Nick then arrived and released a Rook, which flew off east cawing as it went. A very decent year tick and only the 4th I've seen on patch. I don't know where he gets them, but I am very grateful. 

Not quite up to yesterday

Nick then toddled off to Rainham for some filthy twitchery of the sort I no longer partake in, and so it was up to me to see if I could grip him off for once. I could, albeit not in a major way. Bob and James joined me for a fly-by Hobby, and very soon after that a Swift dropped down, forced low by the dark clouds perhaps. Both new for the year also, and then three very high-flying birds caught my attention. As you know my eyes are full of floating crap these days so sky-watching is a real pain, however the dark cloud made things a lot easier and on getting my bins up it was obvious that they were Terns, albeit completely unidentifiable. Any Tern here is good, so I slammed off a few record shots in the hope that they could be positively proven to be Arctics or perhaps even better. As we examined them on the screen it began to be clear that the required streamers just were not there, and even that on one of the photos the bill actually looked quite lengthy. Back home a little later and with the benefit of some lightening up it seems that they were just Common Terns, with only a small part of the wing translucent. Still, my records indicate only a dozen Common Terns before now, and it's certainly not a bird I get every year. James celebrated by buying everyone breakfast, which perked us all up no end - cheers Mr H!

So, I am up to 96, a total I did not achieve last year until June, and the year before that July! In 2014 it took until September!! In 2013 it was April 26th though, so I am way off the pace of that particular year. Still, one good weekend has made the difference from par to being ahead, and I am feeling a bit better about my dedication. And of course I still have the pleasure of working through the photographs from Greece. In the meantime here are some really crappy shots of the Terns. If you think they're not Commons, please do get in touch!

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