Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Tuesday 19th August

Wolla Bank, near Chapel St. Leonards, Lincolnshire, 9:30.

An early start required today, for a drive into Lincolnshire for an Audouin's Gull. Now this is a species usually found where most of us go on summer holidays. Ironic that this bird should do a return journey, and spent it's holidays near Skegness!

Arriving at the Wolla Bank car park, quite a few birders were already present, including "Uber Twitcher" Lee Evans. When I realised they were all looking in the direction of the above photo, my heart sank to be honest.

When it comes to seawatching, this is an aspect of birding that I do struggle with. Just staying in one place, constantly looking out to sea. It always reminds me of the car loads of pensioners you get at Blithfield, or any other reservoir, on a Sunday afternoon that do nothing except stay in the car and stare (why do they do it?).

But trying not to be disheartened, I sat on the edge of the dunes for a while. 3 Arctic Skuas provided some entertainment. Then after only about 40 minutes, amazingly the Audouin's Gull appeared along the coast. Most of the time just hanging into the wind, close enough for even me to recognise what it was. Much narrower wings than Herring Gull, the dark eye and dark, drooping bill. Large area of black on the primaries, and I couldn't make out any white tips. In fact the general shape of the bird reminded me of Laughing Gull, but I could be talking rubbish there.

An absolutely wonderful moment when it appeared, because I was not at all confident I would see it when I arrived. Then as it flew out towards the sea and became unrecognisable, a heavy shower started. Perfect timing to retreat back to the car.

I could now relax for the rest of the day. I've never been one at a twitch who will wait for a bird to reappear again. If I did then perhaps I could've photo'd the bird. But just go on surfbirds, there are plenty of photies anyway, and much better than I could do.

It was now a toss up as to where to go next. Gibraltar Point or Freiston Shore. In the end a plumped for Gibraltar Point. By the way, as you drive through Ingoldmells and Skeggy, there are some intruiging names of holiday parks. Including "Club Tropicana". Before you ask, no, this blog is a "Wham!" free zone! But there was this holiday park:

De plane, de plane!

But I digress. Some scenes of Gibraltar Point:

During a walk around the reserve, not a bad selection considering the weather conditions, not at all ideal for passerine migrants. But I managed 2 Whimbrel, 4 Avocet, 1 Greenshank, a few Little Egrets. After getting back to the car I was flagging a bit from the early start, and bearing in mind it's not the quickest drive along the A52 through Boston and Grantham to Nottingham, I decided to return home after a successful day out.


Rich said...

"Audouin's Gull", "Lee Evans", "Wham"!!!

You name dropper, you! LOL!

Pleased you got your bird though! I've thought about going for it but the "twitcher" label took a lot of shaking off... I don't want it back any time soon! :-)

Richard Powell said...

I know what you mean Richard.

My twitches are few and far between these days. But when I do em, they're pretty spectacular!

Martyn Yapp said...

I'm sure I sit in that car park on a Sunday afternoon?

Im only 24, had an hard life, come to think of it, if you had been watching Blithfield that long you will come to realise in ain't worth walking about.

I need Audouin's for Britain, but I have seen that many abroad I am not sure if I can get up for the twitch the weekend....