Other than the birds themselves, one of the best things about birding is that you get to see some beautiful parts of the country, that otherwise may have not reached my radar. Ah, the memories of spending a sunny day sitting at the head at Porthgwarra (Cornwall) seawatching, or standing at the end of Channonry Point (Black isle, Scotland) watching dolphins down to 20 to 30 feet from the shore or just about anywhere on the glorious Scillies.
This morning's short trip to banks of the River Thames at Rainham Marshes to see my 1st ever Kumlien's Gull, didn't exactly fall into the "stunning scenery" category. It was cold and drizzling with the rain which didn't help the ambiance, but it was the directions I provided to a late arriving birder that summed up the surroundings. It went a little like this:
Birder: "Hi, is the Kulmien's showing?"
Me: "Well there a white winged bird on the foreshore on the other side of the Thames that is probably it, but it's got its back to us and hasn't moved for a while, so it could be an Iceland. It needs to fly really to get confirmation"
Birder: Oh, ok, where is it?"
Me: " If you look at the jetty and then move left, you'll come to a dumped shopping trolley in the mud. Go past that one and then there's another three shopping trolleys together, it's in the water, just in from of the smaller trolley, the one with the red bit on it"
Scenic it aint!
Eventually it did fly around showing a darker band on the tail, and it had a pale grey shawl marking on the back. But the rain became a bit harder and a bit colder, and with the bird looking settled some distance away it was time to retreat back to the car and get on with my Saturday duties, which does include going to see AFC Hornchurch again, so I can't complain too much.