A chance, after some initial chores, to get down to Rainham for a Wryneck. It's been a while since I've seen one, and a long while since I had good views of one.
But first, my phone pings with a local Redstart. How lucky am I? I pop up to the patch and local birder Laurence has kindly hung on to show me the bird. Or, as it happens, the stretch of bushes where it was. Never mind, Laurence is a very knowledgeable and genial birder who works hard in the local area, and as always it is a pleasure to spend time with him.
And then Rainham. A forced march round to Numbers. Someone coming away tells us (I've found company on the way round the reserve) that it is showing really well. We get to the spot, and yes its been high in the bush and feeding on the path all morning. Birders are showing each other their frame-filling photos. It's just popped out of sight but no doubt will be back in a minute.
You can guess the rest. We are treated to a couple of hours of Classic Wryneck Behaviour before a phone call requesting my presence puts and end to this fiasco. I passed the time entertaining the crowd with my opinions and observations, something I suspect I enjoyed a lot more than they did.
Birdguides reports the Wryneck seen again this morning. I suspect that what the bird is doing, as I think Shrikes and others do, is to feed up first thing, and when it has eaten for the day it sits up quietly out of sight.
Some lessons are clearly in order here:
- Don't go for others' passage migrants, particularly Redstarts in autumn. They appear briefly, then disappear. By the time I've heard, its too late.
- If I intend to go for a particular bird, then go. Don't mess around.