Tuesday, September 09, 2008

What does that big red button do?

Of all the stupid things to do, recreating the conditions of the Big Bang “just to see what happens” strikes me as being amongst the most stupid. Given that the last time this happened an explosion big enough to create an entire universe happened, having another go seems to be tempting fate.

The astrophysicists have done their calculations and assured as we are safe. The other main employer of astrophysicists is bank derivatives desk where astrophysicists are responsible for calculating the risk on collateralised debt-obligations, and we can now see what a rip-roaring success that has been. So I think we can give their assurances about the safety of their experiments the respect they deserve.

So with some free time and a south-easterly wind I headed to Canvey for one last look at the Thames before it becomes vapourized and spun to infinity. I arrived at the Point at 7ish just after high-tide and saw ... nothing. Just a few gulls and ships.

Slowly some Sandwich Terns appeared and eventually I located 3 Arctic Skuas way off on the Kent side of the river. I headed to the Coastguards in the hope that someone might have a clue what we were looking at, but the one local confirmed it was quiet. A steady stream of Swallows was going East, and the local picked up an Arctic Skua bombing west on the far side. A few Sandwich Terns came close; I rattled off some pictures.

I decided to cut my losses and head to Rainham. It was quiet. I almost got my first Ruff of the year; a non-descript medium sized medium everything wader asleep with some Greenshanks, I was just getting the scope on it when it flew off, in a non-descript sort of way. There were 5 Blackwits, a similar number of Greenshanks, and a Green Sandpiper. I was put on to a Whinchat and a couple of Stonechat. Not much overall, but at least I saw more than the couple of birders staring at some reeds in the hope the Aquatic Warbler would reappear.

I got back to find that firstly a Great White Egret had flown over Rainham whilst I was there, that Graham had seen Merlin and Whinchat at local spot Trim’s Green, and then one of the Sandwich Terns I photographed was a Common Tern – I can’t even ID the birds in front of me.

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