Sunday, September 14, 2008

Canvey part II

I thought I’d blown it again. The weather map showed light easterlies but as I drove along Canvey sea front it was absolutely still, not a leaf moving.

I joined a local watcher at the point, and slowly things appeared. A male Common Scoter in the middle, a couple of Arctic Skuas in the far distance, and then a Marsh Harrier battling across the Thames.

The gulls all went up over the point, as if to announce that Mr Osprey had arrived for breakfast, and there it was hovering over the bay, against the backdrop of Westcliff-on-Sea.

The tide was on its way up, and over the next hour we added Guillemot, more Common Scoter, Wigeon, Brent Geese, lots of Little Egret, Grey Plover, Curlew, Oystercatcher, and Barwit.

Then the wind picked up, and immediately The Expert arrived. He was shown the Osprey (“still here I see”) and the day's list read to him. He decided to grace us with his presence, and started picking out more birds. First up was a speck on the horizon pronounced as a juv Sabines Gull. We mumbled our thanks, and listened as we had a running commentary on its ID as it progresses east, and yes it did have a distinct two-tone appearance and yes in the sun the primaries were almost translucent, but if I'd been on my own there's no way I could have ID'd it. He proceeded to identify four distant Little Tern, and then got stuck into a passing Arctic Tern somewhere in Kent. At least I saw the two pale juvenile Arctic Skuas that headed off east. A Common Buzzard drifted over.

The Osprey reappeared. “Its heading off” The Expert announced, and indeed it did, slowly heading over to the Isle of Grain. And as it was nearly lunchtime, I headed off too.

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