Wednesday 22 July 2009

KGV, Sandpipers and Bee-eater Envy

Jealousy is a terrible thing, I'm told.... but the fact that a certain Wanstead-based birder has seen a Blue-cheeked Bee-eater is almost turning me green. (Or should that be turquoise?). Despite the superb run of lifers I enjoyed this spring, this would have topped the lot by a country mile, Collared Flycatcher and all.

After the news broke from Bockhill at about 10.30, I started making plans to leave work as early as possible after lunch, travel down to Kent and then complete my hours from home in the evening. In the past, this fortunate type of flexible working arrangement has done me (and my British List) proud, and I remained hopeful for quite some time while the bird was still showing and my phone was running red hot with lifts offered and wanted. One conversation concluded with something like: DB - "OK then, might see you later - good luck!"; Unnamed twitcher joining the M2 - "Cheers...... I'm accelerating nowwwwww..."

Unfortunately, the news took a turn for the worse just before I left the city, and by the time I got home there was still no sign. I opted to resume work, and took scant consolation from optimising a knotty database query involving 20 million data rows. Thrilling, I know.

By early evening, it was clear that a trip to Kent was not required (and, for my money, any readers in France, Belgium or Holland should definitely go birding tomorrow!). In a bid to see at least some birds, I wandered down the road to check out KGV Reservoir. For those who haven't visited this ornithological cornucopia, here's a panorama:

So, a big concrete basin, with another one just like to across a causeway to the north. It's not at its most birdy in July, but there were at least a few returning waders. A couple of adult Little Ringed Plovers probably hadn't come from far away, but a minimum of 21 Common Sandpipers must've been better travelled. Just to prove I can still take a bad digiscoped photo when I put my mind to it, here they are:

So, Common Sandpipers: very charismatic, and always good to see.

But they resolutely kept going 'sweesweeswee', not 'prrrruuk', and they definitely weren't turqouise. Oh well.

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