Early morning on Sat 26th March - Archer arrives at mine, we enter the motor, collect Rich and then inevitably wait for nearly 15 minutes for Feely to wake up, brush his teeth and make a flask of 'Jiff Tea'!
The inaugural use of the infamous 'ASBO Birderz' twitching signage!
Archer discovers that the 'Porn Fairy' lives on...along the A14
We arrived at Landguard NR, Suffolk, shortly before 8am and within minutes of exiting the car we had bagged our target bird - Short-toed Treecreeper, which constituted my 400th British bird. Nice!
I could bore you by going into detail about this bird but to be honest it was pretty shite - We had semi-prolonged satisfactory views of it, enough to say ''yes, it's a short-toed, even though we haven't grilled it's feet''.
At the time there were only 28 of us present but after the obligatory breakfast at a nearby McD's, we returned to find that the crowd had increased to around 75 and the bird had inevitably become more elusive. It did show again briefly during our second stint but with the crowd getting closer & closer to the compound fence, the bird obviously got abit 'camera' shy and headed deep into cover and apparently wasn't seen again for the rest of the day.
Other bits on the reserve included 1+ Black Redstart and 2+ Wheatears.
Before heading back to the Midlands we popped into Levington Marina to allow Archer to year-tick Long-tailed Duck. Afterwards, as I tanked it back home, Archer realised that he hadn't phoned the 'Listing Police' to inform him of the latest addition to his BRITISH list. Sadly, Archer's hero didn't pick up and the pain of not being able to have his sighting verified was clear to see. An handful of Red Kites were noted in this area.
With his phone battery dead, Archer resorts to desperate measures to ensure his sighting of the Short-toed Treecreeper is acknowledged.
Sunday 27th March - The patch beckoned...
Arriving at KMR early doors, with thoughts of possibly a Kittiwake or Scoter on the water, I headed to the Sailing Club to do some staring. A brief scan revealed nothing interesting so I headed round to the SW corner. As I was counting the Teal, Wayne Collingham rang to say/scream that he'd just had an Avocet flying over the trees on the east bank. I began scanning the skyline but within a minute or so I realised that it had prob gone straight thru. With no wader habitat at KMR the bird certainly hadn't hit the deck so unless it was swimming on the water in the middle (what a ridiculous notion I thought), I had missed the second ever record of Avocet at King's Mill. Fortunately, the bird apparently found KMR to it's liking and I soon relocated it......swimming in the middle of the reservoir!
I then made a few necessary phone calls/texts to the locals to alert them to it - Paul Naylor was in his kitchen making a brew at the other side of town when I rang him, yet arrived within 7 minutes!! I also woke Mikipedia from his slumber but with his bicycle out of action, he refused to walk the couple of miles to bag a much sought after patch bird. Sad times!
Other bits during the morning included a LRP heading SW at 8.20am, an handful of Sand Martins and 3 Gadwall. The Avocet apparently remained until c1.45pm when Wayne left but with the Boating C*nts about to hit the swell, it's doubtfull that the bird remained for much longer. It represented the 2nd record for KMR, the first being a single observer fly-thru on July 24th 2001.
It also constituted my 174th bird for King's Mill.......and without doubt the bird of the weekend!