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Friday, 26 April 2013

Rocked up just in time

Yesterday, around mid-day, a mega-alert for a Rock Thrush at Spurn came through on the pager. Now that was a bird I HAD to see! I tried a few people but it soon became clear that everyone I'd usually go with was unavailable for some reason or didn't need it. I came close to one lift offer but it didn't work out and I resigned myself to the best/only option of driving there for first light the following day. In the end though, I managed to convince my wonderful dad to let me have the car, though this meant leaving Wallington as late as 2.30pm. I blindly followed the sat-nav, thinking it was taking me onto the A3 then M25 but by the time it ended up leading me through London, on a very busy afternoon, it was too late to change my route. I soon gave up hope of seeing the bird but ploughed on anyway, planning to stay up there overnight and try for it in the morning on the off-chance. Thankfully I did get on the motorways before too long and pelted it as quickly as I could get away with towards Kilnsea, slowly knocking minutes off the ETA on the sat-nav on a pretty clear run. As I began to near my destination an encouraging message came through saying it was still showing at 7.10pm despite the wet and very dull conditions, though it was getting darker by the minute. Grinding to a halt by the Bluebell cafe at 8.00pm I rushed towards a huddle of birders who looked like they might just be on it  - yes, they were - one birder called Leon kindly let me bag the ROCK THRUSH through his scope. I got it in mine for a couple more minutes before it dropped round the back where Leon and I went round and managed two further glimpses before the night truly blanketed the sky. I couldn't believe that I'd actually managed to get there in time just enough to see it. One or two more red lights, or five minutes more time in queues and I'd have missed it. Relief, elation and the shakes after such an intense, close and stressful chase proceeded before I composed myself, fetched some food and arranged digs for the night.

Rock Thrush when I bagged it yesterday (Thursday) evening

This morning I popped in for another look at the bird which had remarkably stayed overnight, getting further views and better pics plus seeing a Hoopoe brilliantly. Also quite a few Wheatears and the odd Yellow Wagtail were in the same field. I set off back home some time between eight and nine this morning, hoping to get to my English lesson at 1.30pm but failed to do so, but never mind - Rock Thrush is on my list!!! I checked in at Canons very quickly this evening, finding a female Whinchat and at least sixteen Wheatears.

Rock Thrush today - more prolonged views this morning
Hoopoe