Stewartby Lake. Friday 23rd September 2011.

I had been planning on going for the AZOREAN-TYPE YELLOW-LEGGED GULL  at the Stewartby gull roost, but news in the afternoon of it in fields adjacent to the new by-pass had me venturing out earlier. I spent the next few hours alongside Robin Edwards trying to find it. After some time looking for where to park up a small group of gulls were located, which later joined a larger flock nearby. RE and I picked out a dark hooded gull, which unlike any other LBBG was indeed just one of these. We moved onto the roost site and there alongside 14 other birders, along with the finder Steve Blain, we duly started scanning. As the light began to disappear fast and the seemingly last flock of large gulls flew in, one of the birders called up the gull, and with all eyes fixing on it Steve shouted up next to me 'that was it', a particularly large individual with a very distinctive hood, with good views and through Steve's scope too, thanks for that, I left with the last glimmer of light left.

Grey Day at Grafham water. September 2011.

It has been so long since I was able to get out and do some bird photography, but I finally got the chance and headed off to Grafham water. There were 2 Grey Phalarope and a Sabine's Gull, both of which I needed some images of. I headed off early and immediately stumbled, for a few years whenever visiting here I arrived for 7am as the car parks opened, but now (except for the main car park miles away) a new sign greeted me with the opening time of 9am.

Bloody great I thought, what plonker changed this, this sort of organising does not help the photographer or birdwatcher wanting to get there before the bird or birds may depart, its the same with some reserves not allowing access until its too late, I shake my head in disbelief at the dumb stupidity of some people/places. Anyhow not to be put off I noticed a car pulled up on a verge totally off the road and with space for me to slot in behind, and being close to the dam end it was not long before I was viewing the first Grey Phalarope.

The weather was good and the water was nice and calm, lovely birds, the phalaropes, and so small too. Then as that bird flew further out the Sabine's was not far along the waters edge. Busily feeding along the waterline it was not perturbed in the slightest, walking under the fishermens rods as they stood on the waters edge, unbelievable. And so for the next couple of hours I happily snapped away at both gull and phalaropes getting some more than welcome images. It was a good feeling to be out again and luckily for me the birds had remained, the previous days reports also added "only view from the path and not the waters edge", theres always some prat that risks the chance of ruining it for others and sadly theres more of them turning up these days, but luckily for them not this day.