The trouble with this birding lark (poor pun) is that I have to work for a living and can’t drop everything to swan off (and another) to see a rare bird. So I had a tantalising wait each day to see if the bird had been reported and then if it had disappeared. As each day went by, people were posting amazing images of the wheatear and even the BBC got in on the act with a news report on it, telling me it would probably be off as soon as it could because it would be able to tell it was too far north by the shortening days. Great I thought.
So it came down to Saturday (today) and with my good bro also planning to visit the site, I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best. The early morning air was cold with a threatening swathe of thin rain clouds making the prospect of driving the 50 miles for a potentially pointless exercise all the more daunting. Why do I do this to myself?
The wheatear was usually watched from the visitor centre car park and I was the second car to arrive. The first was driven by a volunteer who had come to open up an hour early so that madmen like me could satisfy their craziness. I walked over to him and he just pointed. I followed his direction and saw the desert wheatear distantly on a post. He said it would come to us so I didn’t need to go to it. Sure enough after ten minutes, it started to work its way from post to post in our direction. Others arrived including my brother and for the next two hours we were all entertained and amazed at the confiding bird.
A big thank you must go to Essex Wildlife Trust and Essex and Suffolk Water for making it easy to access the site out of normal hours while major redevelopment is going on.
|It owned the place today.|
|Such a beauty|
|Here’s looking at you kid!|