I'll go back to last Sunday morning, the 11th, when once again I was down at the pit by 6am full of hope. It doesn't take long for hope to dwindle though and by 7am I hadn't seen much and nothing seemed to be moving. Kim D joined me shortly afterwards and at 7:30am one of the birds of the morning flew over our heads calling, a Yellow Wagtail flew west. This species has been remarkably scarce this Spring and this is only my second of the year. At 8:50am, a flock of 5 Ringed Plover descended and landed on the spit. This raised our hopes that waders were on the move, but by 9:30am with no more arrivals, I went home for breakfast. The usual pair of LRP and 8 Shelduck were the other birds of note.
May 12th - I was working today, but made the effort to make a quick sojourn to the pit. At this time of year you never know what might turn up. On arrival, I could see a small white egret standing on the end of the near spit. This is an unusual place to get egrets, but I expected it to be a Little. I lifted my bins and was amazed to see a summer plumaged Cattle Egret - what!!! I couldn't believe it and wanted to get a record shot as quickly as possible. Pretty much all my photos are taken through the scope, so I started to pull the legs out on the tripod. I hadn't got very far when the egret took flight and I watched it fly south from the pit and over the railway. Luckily, it looked like it was dropping into the meadow.
At this point, rather than tearing after it, I thought that I should at least scan the rest of the spit and lake to see if there was anything else. Almost immediately, I saw a 1st summer LWHG that looked very good for Caspian. It was standing in front of the island, but no sooner had I put my scope on it than it sat down, put its bill in its back and went to sleep. Still, I thought I had seen enough to call it and then went in hot pursuit of the egret. En route to the meadow, I called the news in and hoped that the egret would be there. In fact it wasn't, so now what? where had it gone? I decided to walk along the railway bank and as I did a group of egrets flew over my head from the south and all landed in the heronry. A quick scan with my bins revealed that one of them was the Cattle Egret - phew! I was now able to grab some record shots and then returned to the west side as I needed to get to work. Once there, I found that the Cattle Egret was now on the spit with a couple of Littles, so I took some more records. The Caspian Gull was still asleep, so no luck with shots here, but I had to go, very happy with another patch tick and about the 5th county record.
|Quick grab in the heronry|
|Back on the spit|
|A lot of good looking Caspian plumage features, but is the head too streaked and the wrong shape?|
|It usually looked like this|
|Although did wake up occasionally|
|A very quick grab as it roosted in the heronry|