Thursday 17 July 2014
No pics I am afraid, but honest guv, I was there! When news broke on Monday of the mega rare; 4th for Britain, and probably only the 2nd twitchable, Great Knot, had been superbly found, at Breydon Water, in north east Norfolk, I really fancied it. Not too far, at just over 2 hours, long summer nights so plenty of time, but there was one problem, a big problem, it was my daughter's school prom that night. A big night for her and we had to go and see her off, all dolled up, from a friend's house. The earliest I would be able to leave was 6pm. By there time I would have got there, parked up, found the bird etc, it would be at least 8.30pm, and I would have been really pushing my luck to connect with such little time to play with. In hindsight I would have made it, seen the bird and been able to latch onto the confiding Long Tailed Skua sitting on a beach just up the road, but the decision was made. Another one had got away. Tuesday morning, I packed the telecope, bins etc in the car and head off to work. Boom! A short while later a message on Twitter to confirm the bird was still present. I had tried to recruit some accomplaces to no avail. Another solo twitch beckoned. This was not a major problem. Ok it costs a few quid more and the journey can be a bit boring, but it brings flexibility. 3.45Pm, straight from work, I was on the motorway heading north. 2 hours and 15 mins later, via some helpful direction from Hawky (who had seen it the previous evening) I was parking up in the rugby club car park. Around a mile away I could see a gaggle of twicthers, standing in line, scopes pointing out across the mud. I began walking, within 200 yards, I asked a couple of birders if it could be seen from here, and it could, in fact probably better than three quarters of a mile up the bank, where the majority congregated. I think they had parked up the road in Asda car park that's all. I enjoyed the bird for around 45 minutes, feeding with Knot. Hoping it would have a fly around, but it didn't. It stayed within 20 feet of where I had first seen it, or so, for the whole time I was there. Shame it was a tad distant. The scope views were ok, especially as the light improved. Feeding with other birds it was a good comparator, but hats off the person who found it. Very good work. I read that it is the same fella who found one there in 2009, although that record has never been confirmed or accepted. So what to so next? The plan was to go to Minsmere for a Collared Pratincol, which would have been only my 2nd. The sat nav told me it was much further out of the way than I had thought. Bugger. It didn't help I had forgotten my house keys (DOH!) so couldn't really get home late. I decided best to head home. 2 hours later, I was cracking open a cold beer, pleased with my efforts, BOU 406, with a teal, a flycatcher and a gull potentially still to be decided.