In the last week I've had two separate people tell me that they're going on photography trips over this weekend, one to Oxford and one, a little more exotic, to Florence. When I found that the rugby was over on Saturday (if you watched the game you'll know that it couldn't be over quick enough) and that I hadn't actually planned anything else for my day, I took inspiration from these tales of adventure, packed up the camera and, being an Essex boy, headed over to Two Tree Island. And the best thing about Two Tree Island it that as well as looking like this:
And having lots of these to take pictures of:
You also get a few of these to watch:
For those who don't know, Two Tree at low tide is a wader magnet. Waders are one of the many weak areas among my bird identification skills, so the Collins and the scope made the trip as well. I'm heading up to Norfolk for a long weekend in a few weeks time and I need to get in practice.
I didn't make it as far as the hide before the promise of rain turned me back, but there was a flock of about a hundred Oystercatcher feeding on the mudflats with half a dozen each of Redshank and Blackwits and a single Curlew mooching about.
Mystery bird of the day was very Grey and very Plover-shaped, but with a strong patch of golden colour on the lower part of the breast. The Collins didn't help much here as there's no indication that Golden Plovers turn Grey in winter, though I know for a fact that they do - it's just a question of how grey. The thing was planted firmly on the deck, so no flight views to clinch it. I do however have a bad phonescoped picture. The gold doesn't really show up - it's difficult to pick it out from the compression artefacts - but see what you can make of it:
I'm calling it as Golden, but feel free to argue - I'd quite like to be wrong on this one.