Walmsley Sanctuary. There's an American Bittern out there somewhere.
Somewhere near that brown stuff in-between that green stuff.
A small crowd began to gather below the hide too, where there was screening which we could look through A few people were talking and a guy turned up who had an unusually loud voice. This eventually caused someone ( I believe it was Josh Jones) to shout down from a window of the hide "Can you keep the noise down down there." Not an unreasonable request in itself but delivered in a voice which would have put Brian Blessed to shame, and could probably have been heard as far away as Wadebridge, the irony was not lost on me, I thought it was hilarious. Of course no one was likely to volunteer to actually leave the hide and quietly ask for quiet, now were they?
An opportunity eventually ensued when a mega, an American Kestrel came through on the pager and a small band a slavering desperadoes burst forth from the hide and rushed back to their cars. At last we'd be able to get inside to see this!
This is with the camera up held over my head. This wasn't going to be easy.
It was most frustrating listening to people describing where the bird was and not knowing where to look. It's by the Juncus was the most popular direction, there were acres of of the bloomin' stuff out there! Mind you, even getting a clear view of a window wasn't easy! One guy decided to leave and Brett kindly pointed out the soon to be vacant seat to me, I was poised to get into it when a guy sitting alongside the guy who was leaving just moved along and spread out, which was nice of him! Another thoughtful gentleman was giving a running commentary of what the bird was doing as he was watching it through is scope and when someone desperately asked if they could just have a really quick look at it down is scope he said " No, I don't think so" What!? He did the same thing on at least two occasions, I didn't think I was naive but I was shocked at how rude and selfish some people can be ( the main offenders were some of the older contingent, old enough to know better I'd have hoped. ) That's definitley only some people though because after I packed up my scope and was walking out of the hide resigned to having to give up, a guy who was also leaving obviously noticed my pitiful countenance and asked if I'd seen it. When I replied in the negative straining to hold back the tears, he set his scope back up and because he knew where the bird was, got back onto it straight away and from right at the back of the hide near the door. I was impressed. " There you go" he said " Take as long as you want" The bird was right there in the middle of the scope right out in the open. I was very relieved and thanked him, again almost tearfully, but I managed to hold 'em back. It wasn't so much seeing the bird as his kindness which was in such contrast to the majority there. What a nice guy, for a few seconds I was utterly in love with him! Thanks again whoever you are! ( Not that I throw myself at just anyone who lets me look down their scope I hasten to add! ;-)) I only watched the bird for about 20-30 seconds though because I could sense someone standing next to me who was equally desperate and I relinquished the scope to him.
Once outside I met Roger Treeby a fellow Devon Birder (in fact the 'Devon Birder') and pointed him in the direction of my hero and he too got to see the bird. As it happened the bird remained visible for the next half hour or so and we were able to get several more scope views firstly through the screening below the hide and later when Brett managed to find a space to set his scope up in the hide. I tried to digiscope a couple of souvenir photo's ( it's never easy with a different scope than the one your used to) and a very short video clip too.
The Tower Hide, featuring Bun, Roger and Brett (on stairs). Notice the guy on the left admiring his distant brown blob photos, well if they were anything like mine that is :-)
Getting some real good views.
Seriously though, it was surprisingly easy to see through the small gaps using your scope.
The bird was almost impossible to spot with just bins, here's a typical scope view.
It's there look, by that Juncus
The view in the end was much better than my lame photos would have you believe.
And the video, it does move a teeny bit at the end.
The bird was well worth the stress (would have been so much less stressful without the time constraint) The company was also great, I'm not usually so neurotic Brett, honest! All in all a very enjoyable morning if you like playing sardines! Glad you had to go to the dentist now Gav, I bet!? :-)