With a bit of windy weather knocking about this morning, I headed down to the old patch in order to stare adoringly at flocks of Sabs, flotilla's of Grey Phals, squadrons of Manxies and stuff..............Then I snapped out of it and realised the traffic lights had gone to green!
Sadly, my patch ain't Pendeen or The Bridges of Ross (well it has got a few bridges but ya can't see the sea from 'um) - my patch is a grotty urban reservoir that is about as far from the sea as you can get but each autumn if it gets a bit blowy, I'll head down there in very vain hope that there might just be some sea faring lost waif bobbing around on the water. Unfortunately, those strong gusts I hope for very often occur too late in the autumn when the chances of seabird are greatly reduced. However, this is September, the perfect time, ya know, when there's still loads of shit just offshore and these winds are proper meaty thus even my tiny patch of water could be in with a sniff!
Arriving this morning, I was genuinely excited about the prospect of finding something good and guess what....I did! The very first bird I clapped eyes on (well technically that's incorrect cos I did actually have a perv at a bird in the car park who had a pair of them nice shiny black jogging leggings on, ya know them that are so tight you can actually see if she's into waxing or not!) was a patch rare! Black-necked Grebe! Ok, not the hoped for seabird but a pleasure non the less! I've seen a fair few BNGs over the years at King's Mill but I believe this is the first for a couple of years. Well, that's about as good as it got. I hung about for a few hours, checking every incoming gull for that distinctive wing pattern but having promised to take the missus out for lunch I had to leave late morning.
Lunch was strategically taken at The King & Miller restaurant, which incidentally is located right beside the reservoir, where from my seat inside, I could scan the skies above the patch while pretending to listen to what she was saying! That's dedication innit!
Later this evening, I returned to the reservoir, with a handful of other KMR watchers (old & new) and gave it a good three hours coverage. There was gonna be a seabird in the roost tonight, I felt its presence, the wind was gusty, the water choppy and then, there, in amongst the gathering Black-headed Gulls was A SEABIRD! YES! Get in! A near adult KITTIWAKE! Once again, I've seen plenty of them at KMR but this is what we had been hoping for all day. Unfortunately, this probably wasn't a fresh 'in' bird, whisked off the Atlantic and unceremoniously dumped on our puddle of water. There's been a Kit' knocking around the local area for the last couple of years, it arrived as a 1st winter, and we've seen it grow and mature into the snazzy creature it is today. It also bears some nice leg jewellery that indicates it was rung in France somewhere.
As the evening drew to a close, one last surprise came in the form of a Spotted Flycatcher zooming around some willows, snapping up flies obviously.
So, not exactly the seabird spectacular I had hoped for but, as I write this, I can hear the wind outside, its getting angry & more powerful! Maybe tomorrow morning, I'll drop into the patch before work and discover a Puffin looking all forlorn bobbing up & down near the dam wall................... Well, I can dream.