Every year there are certain days that stand out from the main as memorable and incredibly satisfying. Yesterday was just such a day.
For a few weeks I had been planning a birding trip and had my eye firmly fixed on Kent. Specifically Oare Marshes – one of my favourite sites – and Grove Ferry, more for the delightful watering hole than anything else but the reserve has been good to me over the years so why not?
My good friend Ed was riding shotgun and I would pick him up from his home close to Brentwood. Now Ed is pretty brilliant at many things; it could be Star Wars trivia, BBQ’d kebabs or knowing how to design the interior of a double decker bus. But on this day it was his ability to make the most amazing bacon butty breakfast.
We got down to Oare around 8.30am and already there seemed a larger than usual gathering of camouflauge. Now camouflage isn’t always easy to see but when most of it is squarely positioned on the road with huge tripods and rucksacks then it does stand out a bit. We weaved our way through this and somehow managed to find a spot to park. I suppose Oare was popular because recent sightings of the long-staying Bonaparte’s Gull and a regularly commuting Cattle Egret has had a magnetic effect on a lot of birders.
|Temminck’s Stint causes road block|
Probably time for a picture of a bird or something.
|Small Copper, Oare Marshes|
|Little Egret, Oare Marshes|
Now I was quite excited I admit because I have regularly dipped this bird and looked around for some fetching camouflage but it wasn’t needed. The bird was distant (theme for the day really) but was clear to see as it patrolled the water edge on the West side.
|Well I said it was distant!|
|Temminck’s Stint with Little Egret|
|Bonaparte’s Gull. It’s the one on the left!!|
So, in line with my oncoming dementia, we got lost. I’ve been to Grove Ferry numerous times and I can only think that my mind must have been fixed on where best to buy some snazzy camouflage clothing for the winter. Anyway a delightful lady on my SatNav put us straight albeit taking us on a winding route through single lane tractor roads which the motor didn’t appreciate. Eventually we arrived and parked at the front door of the pub; found a table overlooking the boat-filled river to enjoy a couple of Shepherd Neame’s finest ales and a rather daunting burger.
|But we did get lost Ed!|
|God these were good. And look, mine is so much bigger!!|
|Grove Ferry/Stodmarsh. A few dark clouds over its future.|