Monday, 10 September 2012

Baillon's ache!

It's Friday evening and I'm on the way to the monthly East London birders drinks in Hornchurch (which is a long, long way on the District Line - it's probably actually in Essex) and news breaks of a Baillon's Crake at Rainham!

Hatch a plan! I can't go early on Saturday morning - Mrs B is doing a boot sale (Mrs B never does boots sales - ever! Actually this will be the first boot sale she has ever done! What are the chances that it falls on this day - Plan A: scuppered!

Plan B: Saturday PM - an early evening visit, 3hrs standing in a hide (no seats available) until dusk - no sign, dipped!

Plan C: Sunday AM - return to scene of previous days dip, waking up in what feels like the middle of the night to get to the hide and in position before sunrise - done!  

Proof of my early start!

As the sun rises above the marsh and the first shapes and figures of birds are made out on the shadowy light a call from the left goes up!

"I think i've got it!"


"There in the channel"

"Where in the channel?"

"About half way down - in the reeds at the edge of the water" (It's never easy giving directions to a bird without any decent interest points to focus in on)

I'm now frantically trying to get onto the bird (along with the rest of the 50+ bleary eyed birders in the hide) but despite much efforts to point me in the direction of the Crake - thanks Lee. I just couldn't get the bins onto it! And then all to quickly the bird had returned to the depths of the marsh and out of view...bugger! I gave it a couple of more hours staring a reeds, sedges and rushes! Before reluctanty sloping off - shoulders slumped and dragging my scope on the floor behind me.

This marsh could hide dozens of Crake's!
As I started penning this post the Crake had been frustratingly seen on and off for most of the day! Possibly tempting me back for a 3rd visit in two days - how I love the A13.... is that how this tale will end?

No... having already spent enough time in a hide at Rainham than is healthy for a happy and harmonise marriage – I gave the Crake one last crack! And then finally after another couple of back aching hours, standing and staring at the same stretch of rushes, I was rewarded with excellent views – aided by the careful positioning of myself in a prime front row location!

Job done and Baillon's Crake finally bagged I was off home, tired, elated and some what relieved - twitching...I should have stuck with the golf!
Bird ticked - I retired to the back of the hide