When the news came out that serial Pratincole finder, Mark Heath, had relocated the Black-winged Pratincole for the third time I changed my plans for the day.
Although I'd seen the bird quite well on Sunday it is only the second one I've seen and I don't know if and when or where the next one might be. They breed from Romania east to Kazakhstan and winter in Southern Africa, but odd individuals turn up each year in western Europe. This morning our individual wish sitting amongst the clods of mud ans tufts of grass, finding some shelter from an unfriendly wind. It was quite a good view through the telescope, and now and again it had a little walk round and twice a short fly.
This is the third one, and the adult Coots seem to have given up trying to chase it away, not that they had any success in deterring it from its grizzly intentions. With the Pratincole seemingly settled I strolled back to the Feast Hide, where Mark and Steve Ashton were relaxing away from the crowds.
One of the Great Crested Grebes was feeding in front of the hide, presumably its mate was on a nest somewhere. Although it was diving frequently I didn't see it come to the surface with a fish, as you do sometimes.
It was having some problems keeping it's crest neat and tidy, and the pool was beginning to have waves large enough to be mentioned in the shipping forecast.
I did get some practice at trying to photo flying birds. I failed dismally with the Sand Martins that were around but managed a few shots of the Coots that seemed to be spending the whole time chasing each other. One of them had a nest, with the female sitting quite near to the hide and it was very reluctant to have the other one anywhere near it.
Marsh Harriers were in the air a lot but seldom very close, and the five or six Hobbies we saw were never with in picture distance. While were watching the Hobbies, Mark as one would expect was the the first to see the Pratincole flying by.
It spent the next hour or so around the flood in front of the viewing mound. Most of the time it was fairly distant but once flew over our heads. This was the time when I was changing cards in my camera. Marc got a great picture that is now on Surbirds, and hopefully will be on the KOS site when it is up and running again. Also on Planet Thanet.