In the misty morning light, our hearts were thumping as we leapt from the car like salmon after being kindly directed to a convenient parking location near Coralhill by a man in traditional Scottish dress (blue overalls and wellies).
A short walk along the fence line to where the assembled crowds, OK both of them, were crouched like Libyan freedom fighters contemplating their next move, the occasional rattle of a 50d firing off in the distance, and suddenly like a mirage shimmering above the stubble sloped horizon our quarry lifted its head in graceful acknowledgement of our arrival.
Stewart sketched and scribbled whilst I crouched and occasionally fired a volley of shutter clicks and for the best part of 30 minutes we remained at staring distance some 60m away from each other. A young Peregrine sailed past as cool as cucumber just behind us though the confederate crane remained unruffled.
Eventually it managed to entangle a length of straw in its bill and after a little head shaking took off and landed beyond the dunes, we assumed on a fresh water stream running across the beach. It later relocated to the Loch of Strathbeg reserve where we were able to watch it albeit more distantly from the comfort of the Tower Pool hide.
Good birds should be celebrated and back at the car I broke out the appropriate whisky (Jack Daniels) and we toasted our tick. The car full of birders arriving in the field to the news it had just buggered off to the beach seemed oddly stony-faced at our small celebration.
Jack Daniels aka Boulmer Birder
We squeezed out a couple of Little Stints on the reserve and played top trumps with counts of Ruff before heading back south to the the never-ending beach of Blackdog for some cool surfing (eat your heart out Richard).
We were unable to locate the adult drake Black Scoter amongst the estimated 10,000 birds that stretched as far as the eye could see but we did manage one and probably a brief second drake Surf Scoter off the rifle range as well as meeting Scottish legend Evel Mcnevel practising in the dunes.
The day couldn't have gone much better, great bird, excellent company, good whisky and some bonus surf!