Before heading off to the British Birdfair at Rutland Water, I headed to the east coast for a bit of bush shaking. Conditions looked good for some early migrants, Wryneck and RB Shrike my own personal targets for the morning. Perhaps I should have set my sights a little lower, since a good few Lesser Whitethroats were as good as it got on the avian front. I did enjoy some success with some Butterflies: 2 Wall Brown in dunes at Waxham, an Essex Skipper on the clifftops at Happisburgh and best of all, a new moth for me: The Drinker! This thing looks like an X-file, what a beast. Stupidly the camera was in the car at this point.
On route to 'The birdwatcher's Glastonbury' (Yeah, right. If that was the Glastonbury crowd, you can count me out in the future) Debs and I stopped off at Grafham Water. Here we enjoyed excellent views of Both Black and White-Winged Black Tern. A useful exercise in Tern ID with Common also fishing the reservoir. Debs watching Terns= happy for the weekend.
The fair itself was a good one this year, punctuated by some interesting lectures and a brief meet and chat with Jimmi from Doves! He is involved with a project known as 'Ghosts of Gone Birds', which highlights extinction past and present. Also involved is my friend and mentor from my Nottingham days, Dr. Rob Lambert. He nailed his specialist subject of 'The History of British Seabirds' during the celebrity wildlife brain of Britain, but went on to be frankly embarrassed by Mike Dilger (Oooooooonnnnneee) in the general knowledge round. Rob, if you are reading, I was mouthing the words 'Lulworth Skipper' to you.
Best lecture was given by Martin Garner and James Lees, who spoke about finding and documenting rarities. Just the boost I needed after my abject failure to find anything decent on the coast, but they did point strongly at the use of digiscoping in order to get records accepted, something I do not do....as yet.
On the Sunday, we left early in order to do the circuit of Eyebrook Reservoir. I quickly picked up the hunched-over Cattle Egret that had kindly turned up over the weekend, and intervened when I noticed a group of birders happily watching a Little Egret and believing it to be Cattle. Think of it as community service, lads. We also enjoyed crippling views of an Osprey, Sparrowhawk and Buzzard. A Ruff was with the Lapwing flock, and distantly a probable Black Tern hawked over the water. Bullfinch called from scrub, and a Yellowhammer landed and called within feet. What a great set of birds, and for a brief blasphemous moment, I wished Eyebrook were my local patch. Surlingham- you know I don't mean it, and will appease with the finding of a Whinchat later this week. Or a Woodchat Shrike.