Yesterday I had a tick, or a twitch.
We've had a Sabine's Gull the last few days, blown of course, presumably on its way to its wintering grounds in Africa. It finished up at one of the reservoirs at Tring, called Startops; an occasional visiting place for me.
A lot of local birders, and twitchers have been there the last few days, and quite a few posts on the local bird groups about it "wowing the crowds".
There's also been some debate as to where previous sightings in years past should be logged now, if the county borders have changed.
I couldn't resist chipping in with, 'many years ago we were joined to Europe. That doesn't make us French now.'
Naturally the 'grown ups' chose to ignore my part of the debate. No sense of humour some of them.
Anyway, yesterday started cloudy as usual, but I decided to take a ride there anyway, hoping the circus had left town by now.
I got there about 6 a.m., and soon found the 'bird', off in the distance, sitting on some straw bales, used to clean the water of algae.
Just me, him, the other birds, and a couple of fishermen on the far bank.
He sat there for some time, snatching the occasional insect that dared fly past him.
And then the rain started!
Oh well, just another summers day then.
I walked up and down the bank looking for other avian subjects. The Common Terns were putting on a fine aerial display, but the Sabine's was content to have a lie in this morning, and just snack on the passing insects for breakfast.
I was eventually joined by another gentleman with a 'fancy' video camera. We both stood watching the distant gull.
The rain was getting heavier now, so I walked back to my car, to get my coat. A bit pointless really, since once you're wet, you're wet.
By the time I'd made the shortish journey, got my coat, and returned, the rain had begun to stop.
The gull had moved closer too.
He began making short journeys from bale to bale, and then the sun came out.
Now, if he would just fly around a bit, that would be perfect.
A couple more people began to turn up with their scopes and cameras by now, and we were soon looking like the makings of a 'twitch'.
The bird stretched his wings.
Takeoff was imminent.
Then he finally took off, and treated us to a fine flight display.
A magnificent looking bird, and one I'll probably never ever see again.
A real 'star' at 'Startops'.
Enjoy your upcoming weekend