Waders. Oh yes. Surely overnight rain would have downed something lovely on the shore Alexandra Lake. I donned my waterproof jacket, pulled on my wellies and set out just after 6am in a light drizzle. Halfway there Simon messaged to say that Alex was a wader-free zone. Curses! Had I received this news a quarter of an hour previously, perhaps with just one welly on, there was a good chance I would have taken it off again and retreated to the kitchen. However I was now out and perhaps there might be a flyover, a good reason to stick it out. My spirits and sense of expectation were soon buoyed by news of a significant movement of Terns up the Thames. Sandwich Terns were going west (ie towards Wanstead, ish) in flocks of up to 20. Common Terns were in flocks of 100. With visibility poor and more rain on the way I felt that there was at least a possibility that some of these birds could get confused and head overland.
I headed to the well-known vizmig spot to keep watch. I was all alone, the usual joggers and dog-walkers had very sensibly decided to postpone. What wusses. The rain started to fall harder and it became quite difficulty to see anything at all, but on the river the Terns kept coming. Gradually my bins filled up with water. So too did my pockets which I had forgotten to zip up. More Terns came up the river. Meanwhile the number of Terns passing over Wanstead remained steady at precisely zero-per-hour. I later learned that they were all just hanging around a bit further up the Thames and showing no inclination at all to go anywhere or do anything. Quite sensible in the conditions really.
I gave up after two hours and came home to dry off and get ready for work. I poured out my pockets into two satisfying puddles on the tiled floor, and then hung my jacket up to dry where it created a third and much larger puddle. I was soaked through. Nothing ventured nothing gained I suppose, but I'd be fibbing if I said I wasn't disappointed. A special effort and for diddly squat. However there is one, err, positive to take from the morning that I would like to share with you. A selfie.
This blog and indeed my entire social media presence sees very few selfies. It's not that I have a face for radio per se, it's just that I don't like narcissism or self-aggrandisation and selfies seem mainly to be all about that. Some people seemingly cannot write anything at all without first plastering a photograph of themselves online - the telling of a successful twitch for example starts off not with a picture of the bird but with a picture of the grinning or pouting self. This is not my style, it's as close to a cardinal rule as exists here, and so in over ten years of this blog I would doubt very much if there have even been ten photos of me. I can't be bothered to check, and neither I suspect will anyone else so I reckon I am on safe ground. But today I wanted to show the rest of the local birders how much fun I was having out on Wanstead Flats without them, and thus succumbed to the temptation...