Wednesday, 18 December 2013

A quality hour with a quality bird

Planned to get down there for dawn. All packed up and off no problem. Stopped for Bud's 1's and 2's and a quick stretch on Outstray lane. I'd thought the car sounded "noisy" on Snakey lane...looking at the nearside front tyre I could see why. Almost completely flat! What to do? Get some air in it NOW.

So, back to Patrington air, not even a foot pump which I'd used previously. Luckily I caught the mechanic who said I could use his from the garage...result!

Back down to "the Haven". Unfortunately I was now at least 30 minutes behind schedule. Needless to say the bird had been feeding on the supplied fish from first light but had now drifted off onto the Humber! I met Big Phil and we had a good chat while waiting hopefully for the bird's return. Also bumped into Steve Exley who told us about the damage at Spurn...sounded horrendous. Many caravans written off completely and many houses damaged.

I gave it till around 10.30 then walked back to the car with Phil. I had to get back home as Louise was having problems with her car. Not a great day for cars!!

As stated previously I'd decided to go down early as the forecast for the afternoon was poor. By 1pm though there was no sign of rain so I decided to pay another visit. Previous form suggested it would return around 3 so I had a drive around my Sunk Island loop looking for Raptors/Owls. The Buzzard was still hanging around the top of Outstray lane.

By 2.30 I was parked up and walking back down to the pumping station. I bumped into Chris a pal of Barry Bishop who told me it had just been flying round the pumping station! So much for my strategy!


As I approached the area I could see around 15 birders, some by the Pumping Station and a few out on the saltmarsh obviously looking at "the Gull".

Can you see it?
I moved closer and managed this shot against the dark rocks...

Time was marching on and it looked like my "flight shot" plan was doomed. I decided to return to the P.S. and wait, hoping it would return to the fish to feed. The light was poor now as the predicted rain clouds were creeping in from the west. It was now past 3 and still no sign of movement on the rocks. A young lad was checking his photos out of the strong wind when I noticed the gull had taken off. The devil in me decided to wait a few moments before telling him as it was obviously heading our way, no doubt to return to the fish. As it arrived over our heads I tapped him on the shoulder and pointed up! I won't quote his comments but I thought I'd have to catch his camera!!

Several birders had unfortunately left before it's arrival and only 4 of us remained. We enjoyed a superb ending to the day in the company of this Arctic wanderer...

on the deck...

feeding time

and in flight...

not bad at 100th sec

Then it was gone...

...and only 10 minutes from home!

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