Saturday, 4 June 2011
I crashed out at Rob's place last night with Dan and Michael; after watching the films till midnight we went kip (well, I didn't actually get any sleep) before getting up at 4.30am and leaving shortly after 5.00am. Mission: bag that bleedin' sandpiper. No news on the pager by the time we got there at 8.30am wasn't promising and it soon became apparent that the poxy bird was not there. How bloody unlucky can you get - it's been there 90% of the time in the last two or three weeks and the two times I have a stab at it, the bird choses to change habits. My third Broad-billed Sandpiper dip involving two birds. My first BBS dip was the Mersea Island bird last year in which I naively forked out in excess of £60 in train fares and ended up having to spend an unexpected £20 on cabs to end up on some god-forsaken mudhole with the heavens emptying their load upon me.
Anyway, we soon decided to cut our losses and get something out of the day by heading to Minsmere as Dan and Micheal needed Roseate Tern. After a couple of hours of scanning Rob and I left the pair to it while we caught some grub at the cafe. As we were walking back to the hides the pager told us the bird was still there so we discussed our relief that at least D&M had got something out of the day. It turned out they hadn't seen the bird or the message. We moved to the public viewpoint and Mike picked up a promising-looking bird. Moving one hide further on (where the light was much better) I picked the Roseate Tern up and all enjoyed views of the bird with Common Terns both at rest and in flight; it was quite superb. A pair of Little Terns and a second-summer Yellow-legged Gull were also present. We were making our way back to the car when the pager bleeped telling us that a probable Black Kite was more or less above us one minute previous. We scanned and scanned, picking up a pair of Spoonbills and a couple of Bitterns in flight but no fork-tailed raptors.