Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Another cunning plan bears fruit

Time for the Twites to go forth again.

How about the Hud Whimbrel? I ask Mr Fisher.  Yeagh!

Itinerary: Find out where Pagham is.  Note that it hasn't moved since last time you went.  Check Network Rail site. Trains still run to Chichester, and handily from Waterloo, which is somewhere on the Jubilee line, which also has Stratford on it, which is where I nearly live.  So far so good. Check the bird is still there, which is also good.  Meet Mr Fisher and buy tickets. Then get on tube, get off at the right place and then get on a train. I love it when a plan comes together. A potential spanner in the works is that we have to change at Havant, and more worryingly a platform.  Luckily there are only 2 to choose from, and since we came home chuffed at seeing the bird, I guess we got it right.

At Chichester we need to find a bus station, luckily some planning bod realised that on arrival in Chichester you might not want to stay there and put the bus depot nearby. They have buses going where we are, so amazed by this coincidence we decide to use their service.  Cannily we buy a return ticket.

For some reason, known only to me and considering the limited time we have, I decide that we should walk back from Selsey where our bus is going.  As the miles, past the reserve, begin to tick, I am realising the error of my ways. This is confirmed when we arrive at the destination of a exceedingly seedy looking holiday camp at West Sands.  This is a no-brainer: we will stay on the bus for the return journey.  This time we get off at the visitor centre, only an hour later.

First up we have a look at the ferry lagoon, which has a few godwit quite close to the road.  Sadly these are either failed breeders or non-breeders, which probably accounts for the couple of Avocet looking introspective on its margins too.  News from the reserve is not good, our bird hasn't been seen for a few hours and disappointed faces are meeting us as we wander up towards the sea-wall.

There are still a good number of hopefuls waiting, optimistically for it to follow it's usual routines. We start checking the fairly empty mud flats.  There are a few Whimbrel knocking around and some Curlew in the haze in the further channels.  Little Tern fished the receding water courses, and a few Oystercatcher piped a bit.  Then our little group of four picked up a good candidate, in that it had no white on the rump flying down the main channel a good way off.  Probably, no definitely, our bird.  Half an hour later it flew back and everyone was happy.

After a while noting the relevant features we decided to look at the sea. This being one of Mr Fisher's stomping grounds of his youth, and he worked here, he told me stories of what him and, especially, his dad had seen there.  We saw bugger all, bar a Cuckoo way over on the east side of the harbour.

Time to go, judging it just right to get the bus screeching to a halt on a particularly tight corner.  Bus met train and so we were in Havant before we get the now customary refreshments for the journey home.  Yup pissed again!

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