Sunday, 27 December 2009

AT LONG LAST !!!!! ( another highlight of 2009 )

Black Winged Pratincole.

Having been lucky enough to have seen both Collared and Oriental Pratincoles in Kent there was a gaping hole missing Black-winged and finally news came through of a Black-Winged in Reculver in Kent , great a mega that has eluded me for a long time and that would complete the set in Kent and on my door step too ( well nearly ) only 15 Min's from my house, the only problem was i was about 200 miles away visiting family Aaaaaaagh . I had all the signs of a nervous breakdown , you know how it goes how many people are going to grip me off , not being able to sit still , will it be a long stayer ( or at least until i see it ! ) it was awful and so close to my house just made matters worse .

Well luckily enough for me the Black-Winged had decided to move to Grove Ferry which is a truly great reserve and is the site i spent most of my birding life along with Pegwell bay, anyhow back to the BWP i just had to get it and the following Saturday i was there early and made my way to the " ramp " which gives you a goodish view of the reserve, on the approach to the ramp the signs were not good, birders looking in all directions and a couple just chatting did nt feel me with confidence , then on arrival i was given the news we all love to hear " oh it was here 10 Min's ago " someone shot me now come to mind !!!!!

i spent most of the day there and it was not seen , that's it i thought i am either never going to visit my family again or i am giving up birding then reports of the BWP being seen mostly from the marsh hide during the following week filled me with hope and the very next chance i had to get to Grove ferry i took and made my way to the marsh hide where it was on view and would you believe it a bloody Shelduck had just walked in front of it and blocked it out of view , my frustration lasted about 5 Min's until the Shelduck got the message and flew off and finally i connected with this wonderful Pratincole and although i only saw it in flight a couple of times i saw the black under-wing which had no white trailing edge and its overall darker appearance compared to collared, its white rump was very evident and i even managed to glimpse the smallish amount of red on its bill, having watched it for over an hour getting most of the key features i went home very happy , other birds of note were : 2 Hobby , heard Bearded Tit and Cettis warbler, and from the ramp i saw Marsh Harrier , 5 Ruff and 2 Garganey .

Big thanks to Marc Heath who took this great photo ( above ) and has allowed me to use it.