So we'd made plans all week to make the long trek back up to Aberdeen to see the SOOTY TERN only for there to be no sign of it all day on Friday 27th July. We wiped the tears off our cheeks and immediately made alternative plans.
Lord Lichfield has a great fascination with SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS and tries to see them whenever they turn up. He has already made one trip to Co.Durham this year already to see one - yes he's that keen and so it was an easy decision to head off to Spurn to see the SEMI-P that was on our favourite wader haunt the Kilnsea Wetlands.
Lord Lichfield was busy partying the night before as usual at his stately home, and so we didn't head off for the coast until 4am. Grizz was already in the car and en route we picked up The Stalker to make up the classic foursome again.
The journey was going well, Lord Lich was sipping his champagne still, The Stalker and Grizz snoozed in the back, we screamed up the M1, M18, onto the M62, the same as many many times before.
Then Lord Lich said......err "The Stalker".....the Sooty Tern is there again...we've got a decision to make.....
We slammed the brakes on, did a u-turn on the M62 and hurtled north.
Well that's almost true. It was a tough decision but it was an unanimous one. We drove and drove until after about six hours of driving I became tired and Lord Lichfield took over the driving (well he made his butler drive) and then it started absolutely pissing it down. But every hour or so news kept coming on and it was still present.
We parked up by the Ythan Estuary at 1330hrs, only nine and a half hours after leaving home. It had been a mammoth journey. And it was lashing down. As Lord Lich had come straight from a party, he had no coat and was only in his shirt. I emptied all my pockets, put my bins in their case and placed them in a plastic bag. You remember previous soakings you see.
We walked briskly out to the hut and joined a small band of birders already present. We'd missed it by 30 minutes. It had flown out over the dunes.
We stood and scanned, it stopped raining and I went back to the car with The Stalker for Lord Lichfield's camera and my scope. But while we were away......
Ha I had you going there. When we returned four more birders had joined the crowd. Amazingly when we started chatting to them we discovered they went birding too....and used a car for transport. What a coincidence hey.
Then the shout went up.....The Sooty Tern was flying in from the left on the far bank. It was enormous, it was black, it was awesome. With a few flaps it was already opposite us and flying right.
It was a huge collective sigh of relief, it was a huge back slapping session, it was hand shakes all round. The gamble had paid off.
As the sun came out the Sooty Tern kept coming and going, eventually settling down with the other terns.
And then the moment came. We were stood basking in the afternoon sun, surrounded by our fellow travelling colleagues. And the Sooty Tern flew left, and banked, and then flew straight towards and did a regal fly past on our side of the river. It was a simply magical moment.
We drove back, stoppped at Dundee Macs and arrived home at 0010am, having covered 800+ miles. Another epic trip.
|And guess who we met....Yes Jacko, Robbo, former FBI agent Andy "M" and Grant "Granty Grant" "where's my lift" "Granty Grant Grant" Grant|
|Lord Lich was on top form and nailed it|
|The master at work|
Another fantastic video from Lord Lich
We discovered chatting to a local birder who shouted it out and kindly took the photo of all eight of us, and who we found out was Sir Roger of Tixall's lad, that the beach we were on was known as Echo Beach. So far away in time hey....