Down & Out in…: Essex & Suffolk

Following on from the previous part, news broke of a Forster’s Tern in Essex: there was only one thing for it…

Having seen the manic twitch photos & record shots of the previous afternoon, we decided to head down to Essex (technically the Essex-Suffolk border: the River Stour forms a part of it) as soon as it was reported. Typically, it wasn’t reported until 11 o’clock, and we only got down there by lunchtime. Almost immediately, I managed to find one other member of the young birder clan, who hadn’t seen it either, and two more arrived later. Thankfully, the tern was quickly located far off on some rocks, before flying past us at close range several times along the prom at Mistley. A quick moment of witty inspiration saw us perched on the mud in between the two viewing spots, on a rising tide…

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The fabled Forster’s Tern– in this image much further away than previous views

Luckily, we escaped the rising tide with only muddy shoes, only my second ever Scaup & some at least acceptable record shots of the tern. In another flash moment of inspiration, a quick check of Google Maps revealed another rarity not too far away…

We pulled up to the small bridge with enough info to make a decent stab at seeing this bird. First bridge- nothing. Second bridge- nothing. Weirs- nothing. We were just about to give up when we spotted it bathing in the river downstream from us- a Black-bellied Dipper, my second in fact. In failing light, we snapped a few photos, and then made our way home.

bb-dipper
My second Black-bellied Dipper– photo courtesy of Marcus Nash.

On another note, my project is almost finished, and will be up soon…

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