Yesterday we were welcomed to the Ecology course. After the checking in, introductions from the lecturers and health and safety garble we went on a scavenger hunt working our way from the campus towards the pier and a bar on the terrace. News had come through of a Booted Warbler at Seaford while this was all going on and as much as I was enjoying myself I couldn't let this lifer only a thirty minute drive from my digs get away. So, I bid a fond farewell to my understanding new friends and made a dash for it. The great thing about the course is that many of the people on it are also abnormally interested in wildlife so they don't look at you quite so quizzically when you say you're off to see a small brown bird. Rona is bat batty, Rebecca spends many evenings hunting newts and Marco, from Peru, is a real life Mowgli and partly lives a jungle life where he watches and identifies the birds, insects and mammals of his home country. Getting away, though, involved catching the bus back from the Pavilion to my halls, which added some time to it but I was back at the car before too long and on my way.
I arrived to see several familiar faces including Matt Eade, Lee Evans, Jamie Wilkinson, Paul Rowe and Luke Dray. The warbler did appear very quickly but was extremely uncooperative, showing only in flight or for a split-second atop the foliage. Neil Randon and his wife Annie turned up towards the end of the day and accordingly the warbler put on a much better show in the fading light. A very pleasant twitch in the end, with the bird doing the business and the opportunity to catch up once more with some of my friends from the birding world. Booted Warbler is a lifer for me and a cracking bonus to my time at freshers.