Last night the chance of a 5th tick in a magical 5 day purple patch was scuppered by traffic mayhem on the A12 around Chelmesford in Essex.
News of an Arctic Warbler at Landguard had Hawky and I making plans to get there straight from work. We met at Tesco’s car park at Gallow Corner, Romford and were on our way in the Hawk-mobile by 5.10pm. Landguard being around an hour and 20 minutes away we were hoping we would have enough time to see the bird before dusk.
Unfortunately things did not go to plan. At around 5.20pm Jonathan “Dirty Year Lister” Lethbridge (who had already outrageously already ticked the bird rather than do the ironing) called to say the A12 ahead of us was blocked and at a standstill for 4 or 5 miles. We immediately diverted and zoomed along country lanes, over level crossings, though fields and hay stacks etc (slight exaggeration) until we got near Chelmsford when we realised everyone else must have had the same idea and we were as likely to move as a Frenchman living next door to a brothel (Blackadder Series 4).
We decided to give it until 6pm to see how far we progressed. 30 minutes and 400 yards later it was over. There was no way we would get to Languard before night fall. We turned round and came home. No Artic Warbler, no tick, no luck! Maximum effort and no reward. Bummer. :o(
Rumours are circulating around Essex than a man wearing a Tilley hat, surrounded by loads of small children, was seen along side the A12 in the Chelmsford area, mid afternoon chopping down a tree, insanely laughing, but they have so far been unsubstantiated.