Monday, 30 June 2014

Late Post, Late Twitch, Late Home

On Sunday 22nd June Gary and I finally got time to go and twitch the Short-toed Eagle, in East Sussex, apologies for the late write up. Gary collected me a little after 2.30am, with a plan to be back in Norfolk for lunch.

We arrived around 6am, already a small cluster of birdwatchers present, allowing us to locate the correct car park at Ashdown Forest. The ST Eagle was yet to rise, but no one was quite sure where in the valley it had roosted, so we spent the next hour or so scanning.

Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Bullfinch, Chaffinch, Wren and Pied Wagtail were all around the 'Gills Lap' car park, and scanning the valley we soon had seen Whitethroat, Goldfinch, Stonechat, Blackbird, Great Tit, Mistle Thrush and Swift. There was at least one family of Stonechat and probably a second as we scanned further along the valley. There was no sign of the Eagle, but Woodlark and Tree Pipit proved a pleasant distraction. 

Just after 8.00am news came out that the Short-toed Eagle was perched 2.5km NW of the car park, we thought we should be able to see the bird from where we were so started scanning. Gary picked up a raptor in flight which started off quite a stir, it turned out to be a Honey Buzzard, but a game of Chinese whispers saw people calling it as the eagle! After a second pager message everyone ran off down the hill to try and locate the ST Eagle. We decided to walk in a slightly different direction, after noting a small group of birders across the valley, focused of something. A pleasant chap from Blackpool joined us and soon had some direction from a friend on his phone. We soon located the Short-toed Eagle perch high in a pine, although distant, our position at least gave good light. We moved slightly further up the hill to give us better views if the bird took off, which eventually it did. We couldn't really have left without seeing he Eagle in flight, so although a little latter than planned we left satisfied at 10am.

The traffic around M25 was quite so we cruised home, a quick stop at Stanstead for a drink as it was getting warm and all was well. That was until on the A14 we started to lose power, pulling into services it was clear we had over heated and had little water. After letting the car cool we filled up the water, and it promptly ran straight out of the bottom of the radiator. After a 2.5 hour delay and a visit from the AA we were back on the road, with the hole in the radiator temporarily repaired!

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