Was it to be the patch or something more exotic today? Plan A was to go and see the Night Heron on Two Tree Island for my Essex list, which I don’t really keep and then hit the patch. But there was an unconfirmed report of a possible Cretzshmar’s Bunting in Dorset late last night (for which read male Chaffinch, but you never know) so I punched Kimmeridge into the satnav (strangley spellcheck doesn't like satnav and wants to say Satan! We call her/it Emily.) before I went to bed.
Mid-morning there was negative news on the Heron so the patch crept into first place. This was further confirmed when there was no sign of the Bunting either. (Surprised? No. Relieved? Yes.)
As I finished my morning activities the news broke that the Heron was indeed still present, plan B got relegated, to, well B.
I lined up my Birding gear by the front door and then suddenly thought, do I really need Night Heron for Essex? Surely I must have seen one somewhere before!
I decided I had better check my list before the long drive East. I went upstairs and switched the computer on, then I decided that I had better have my bins ready if I was going to be sitting by the back window for a few minutes, they were duly retrieved from downstairs, then the computer decided it needed to configure some updates before it would divulge the relevant information, I decided some skywatching was in order.
Bins were pointed skywards, a Buzzard hove into view, wow that was easy! I double-checked it as it looked slightly long in the tail area. Common it was, and it powered off South. Hmm... I wonder if I should get on the patch instead? The computer was clanking away so I thought I would scan the skies again. Bins were pointed skyward; a Buzzard hove into view, déjà vu was experienced, all over again. I wonder if I should stay at home and skywatch?
Although, if I shot straight down for the Heron then I would have time to get back onto the patch. The pager told of a Wood Warbler at Fishers Green, plan C?. I decided it was all too much and I should go to the patch after all.
As I jumped in the car I'm not sure if I really knew which plan I was going for.
Well the Wood Warbler showed reasonably well, singing partially, and my earliest by two weeks, the Night Heron reappeared just as I arrived at Two Tree Island and duly got itself onto my Essex list, this site also yielded Nightingale and Grasshopper Warbler and then news broke of an Alpine Swift at Rainham which was on the way home.
Unfortunately the Swift proved to be a five minute wonder but I did pick up some House Martins there.
The patch? Well it will be there tomorrow and so will I, bright and early, who knows an Alpine Swift may decide to put in an appearance.
The final sighting on the patch came this evening as the Goodyear blimp flew over, I had seen it earlier whilst watching the Heron. I don't do omens but perhaps it will be a Good Year on the patch.
On this date: 16 04 04 At Waterworks N.R. a high Swift, singing Lesser Whitethroat and Whitethroat.