I have made a habit of missing the quality birds in the county over the years fro one reason or another. Too busy, too lazy, out of sorts with birding, many reasons. Red-necked Stint, Slender-billed Curlew, to name but two, in fact If I drew up a Birds Missed in Northumberland List it would make pretty impressive reading.
So arriving home from yesterday's trip out, almost as far from the sea as it's possible to get in Northumberland I was unsurprised to find that a mega had gone out for a Semipalmated Sandpiper at Cresswell Pond. No chance of slipping out due to parental duties I was abject in my misery as the crippling pictures began to filter out on the net.
I didn't sleep too well last night.
When the alarm rang at 5.30am I momentarily contemplated turning over and then thought, what the hell.
By 6.01am I was at Cresswell, the only birder there which confirmed my worst fears, 'it flew off last night high to the south' was the likely scenario behind the absence of a throng. After checking the north end I wandered to the hide and started picking through the crowd on the spit.
Dunlin,Dunlin,Dunlin,Dunlin, cough, splutter, Semi P....
I knew that I was unlikely to get any decent images due to the distance and only a 400mm lens so I resorted to a little dodgyscoping in the hope of a recognisable record shot. I spent a good ten minutes alone snapping away adjusting shutter speeds trying to compensate for the poor light through the scope etc.
Eventually it moved along with several Dunlin up to the north end so I wandered up and found Dave Elliot had arrived. Flighty as it was I didn't attempt to get close, after a short time it got up and took off with three Dunlin north. A search on the beach didn't relocate it before my time was up.