I have known that a Snipe has been seen on the rocks of both the East & West Warwicks over the last couple of weeks, I was shaken by this news but not stirred into action, until now, David B had seen it again yesterday. It had to be worth a try, right? I mean, to actually have seen all the Birds recorded on the whole patch in a year (albeit an 18 day long year), what a glorious feeling that would be....
The plan was to get up when I got up, which I did, and walk the edges of the two Warwicks, which I also did. Having established years ago that there are no worms to be had by getting onto the patch early I didn’t worry about a late arrival and pitched up just after 10:00. I saw Pete L and Terry & Paul R stood by the hide on the bank of the East Warwick, they had just seen the two immature drake Scaup and pointed them out to me. They are getting a bit better looking but one is more retarded than the other (the Scaup, not Terry & Paul) and neither are a patch on the adult drake which is commuting between No.4 and the Lockwood. I wonder if they will all meet up one day?
I tagged onto the ménage and we all walked toward the West Warwick. We stopped to have a look at some Little Egrets fishing along the edge and as I wasted my time photographing them Pete spotted a Snipe which had just left the rocks and was flying across the reservoir. I must admit it was a sighting tinged with elation and ennui in equal measure....very strange!
So I had done it (with the help of just about every other patchworker), I had finally caught up with all the birds seen in 2015. Thoughts of calling it a day, retiring from birding, selling my optics, all crossed my mind though Pete said it would never happen, he’s probably right, still, what a moment! Perhaps I should get a Yellow Jersey made, a Tee Shirt or even a Bandana?
I had a bit of a look on West Warwick, and then at the bottom of No.5 before walking through the track between No.1 and 2 & 3, a fisherman was looking quite pleased with himself having just caught a Mirror Carp, nearly as pleased as the Heron I saw earlier with a Perch. I knew how they all felt.
Some interesting(!) Greylags were on the island of No.2, I couldn’t remember which one was the odd one out the pink or the orange, we do get some resembling the Eastern race occasionally.
Best of the rest: Immature male Peregrine on pylon at the bottom of No.2, Kingfisher and Goldeneye West Warwick, 6 Greater Black-backed Gulls East Warwick, Water Rail along the Coppermill Stream by the diagonal bridge. As I left Pete texted to say he had just seen the Cetti’s Warbler in the North-east corner of No.2.
Post script: As I was typing this Pete texted with the dread news, my tweet says it all....
I guess all Camelot-ian moments are short-lived.