There are two certainties in life. Firstly, if you go to bed early, then you get up early. On the otherhand, if you go to bed late, then you get up late.
I've always been an early riser, and always like to get down to Westport before the heaving masses, and I usually arrive at just after 06:00hrs, even on weekends. Its the only way to chance upon a wader, if one is present, before it gets flushed.
This Saturday, we planned a day in Staffs, hoping that the good spell of birds found during the week would continue. We arranged to meet CJW at Westport at 06:30hrs. I have to admit that I did get up slightly earlier than usual, and at 05:30hrs, I checked my phone for any messages that had come through after I had gone to bed. I was in for quite a shock.
Its not everyday that a DUSKY THRUSH is found, but one on the mainland, and present for three days was quite a surprise. I briefly did a bit of research behind the story, and tried to phone GAS and CJW to get away as soon as possible. GAS was already up, but it took CJW until 06:05hrs to ring me back. In the meantime, PLo had rang me to say the DUSKY THRUSH was already showing again. I offered him a lift as unfortunately we had a spare seat in the car due to PJ still being in Turkey. I had my second shock of the day when I found out PLo was already in Kent. I realised that some people stay up later than me, and had obviously gone down in the early hours while the rest of the Clayheads were snoozing away!
We managed to leave Stoke at about 06:20hrs, and we had an easy journey down to Kent with no hold ups en route. It was strange to be travelling down with news coming through all the time and not being on site at first light like we normally do. We arrived in Margate (like a poorman's run down Blackpool with a huge set of 1960's high rise flats on the front. Last time I saw flats like these were in Hungary!).
We had a small detour around Margate due to being given the wrong postcode, but we soon found the cemetery and a street full of parked cars. The crowd was easy to find too, but the 1w female Dusky Thrush was sitting deep inside a tree when we arrived, and it took us an eternity to find it in our scope. The boys around us though we very kind in letting us look through their scopes.
It did move occasionally, showing in full view, but then again it disappeared for quite lengthy spells. The problem was that with the crowd surrounding the tree, the Dusky Thrush couldn't drop down to feed. Eventually, we did have some good views, although we were looking through branches again, hence the greenish hue on all the photo's. We also had several Ring-necked Parakeets flying overhead aswell.
1w female Dusky Thrush at Margate Kent. The first twitchable one since 1959.