SATURDAY 18 MAY
You just cannot afford to get any sleep with this game. After losing two night's sleep in succession, today due to a certain DUSKY THRUSH in Margate Cemetery, I returned home at 0900 hours to get some sleep. No sooner had I got under the sheets than Jason Ward texted with news of a Wood Sandpiper at Amwell Nature Reservoir, a species I still had not seen in Hertfordshire this year..
I jumped up, got dressed and drove over there, but after just half an hour, the Wood Sandpiper had departed and I dipped - solace being achieved in a singing male GARDEN WARBLER and a single male LITTLE RINGED PLOVER (other species on tap being 3 Common Redshanks, 40+ Black-headed Gulls on rafts, 8+ Common Terns, 100+ Common Swifts, Sedge Warbler and calling COMMON CUCKOO and CETTI'S WARBLER)
Feeling terribly knackered by this time, I again returned home to get some sleep. This time I recharged the phone downstairs which was a grave mistake. By 4pm, a succession of local birders had been frantically trying to contact me after Alan Stephens had discovered two TEMMINCK'S STINTS at Spade Oak Gravel Pits. My own fault of course.
Anyway, waking at 1830 hours, I checked the mobile and learnt of my mistakes. Graham Smith kindly filled me in. I was at SPADE OAK within 17 minutes and to my horror, the gathered crowd had just lost the two birds. Nightmare! I continued on to the east side of the pit and by a miracle, relocated both birds after they had been disturbed by a Red Fox. They then flew back towards the spit and continued to show reasonably well until at least 1930 hours, enabling me to get a series of record shots of the two birds. Both were in full breeding plumage and were accompanying a single TUNDRA RINGED PLOVER. Also noted were 6 Common Shelducks, 27 Egyptian Geese, 73 Argenteus Herring Gulls and 8 Lesser Black-backed Gulls.
On the way home, driving through BEACONSFIELD (on the A355), I was saddened to see a dead Badger by the entrance to ROSECOPSE BARN.