06 September 2008

It's kicking off Pru!

Despite not getting out till 09:30, due to another woefully inaccurate weather forecast, I ended up having one of my better mornings birding in Gwentcestershire today. High-tide at Goldcliff was, due to the high water levels, predictably slow until a 1st-year Osprey flopped in from the NW and out to the NE. The only other semi-notables were one Barwit, three Yellow Wag and a Swift.

Then came the news that a Long-tailed Skua had flown down channel off Slimbridge - to the point! Get to the point! Well, two Ringed Plovers, one Knot, one torrential downpour and half an hour later and we were ready to leave. Indeed, we had just started clambering back along the sea-wall when,... more news, the skua had just passed New Passage. Back the sodden sods shuffled to slump expectantly on the sea-wall.

A minute passed, mostly filled with an attempt to remove water from optics,... another minute passed, water/eye-piece battle raged on,... another minute came and went only to be followed,... by another, then quite unexpectedly a minute passed, then another and, hot on the heels of the last, another almost identical to the one before. Then, whilst a few large gulls fannied about on the water, another minute came and, at exactly the same pace, went, only to be followed by two more at a slightly faster rate (which was odd because, by now, my mind was wandering to the moistness of my jeans, the increasing difficulty of finding a dry section of T-shirt with which to dry my scope, and the increasingly pressing need to take a pee). Then, out of the murk to our left, flew a vision of elegance and lithe-loveliness in the form of a juvenile Long-tailed Skua - Gwent-tick! Kerr-ching!

PS. Also had juv Arctic and Common Tern at Goldcliff on the way back but I didn't want to undercut the dramatic ending penned above,... oops.

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